Swiss artist Milo Moiré has been arrested in London after allowing strangers to stroke her breasts and genitals for her latest performance piece.
The project, titled Mirror Box , saw the artist walk around various European cities with a large mirrored structure covering her body. Using a megaphone to attract attention, she would then invite strangers to stick their hands in the box, and
fondle either her breasts or vagina for a 30-second period.
The performance is a follow-up to her naked protest against Cologne's New Year's Eve sex attacks. She explained that she wanted to give a symbol for the consensual nature of sexual acts. She said:
I am standing here today for women's rights and sexual self-determination. Women have a sexuality, just like men have one. However, women decide for themselves when and how they want to be touched, and when they don't.
However, when she arrived in London's Trafalgar Square she was arrested shortly after the performance began -- with police eventually forcing her to spend 24 hours in a prison cell, and fining her for a "4-digit fine".
We would like to ask the Panel to consider whether the Captain Morgan pirate logo used on bottles and other items by Diageo is in breach of Section 3.2 (h) of the Code, which states that a drink, its packaging or promotion should not have a particular
appeal to under-18s, and in particular contravenes the guidance that cartoon-style imagery...bright colouring... pictures of real or fictional people known to children or terminology popular with children should not be featured.
It is indisputable that Captain Morgan as he appears on Diageo's packaging and marketing materials is a cartoon-style image with bright colouring. He is also clearly both a real and a fictional person known to children: the popularity of 17th and 18th
century pirates with young children is attested to by a wealth of books, films and toys; and the Captain Henry Morgan, on whom the drink's branding is based, is both a well-known historical character and has been fictionalised in a number of stories in
print and on screen.
Portman Group Panel Decision: Complaint not upheld
The Panel began by discussing whether the image used on the product range was a cartoon or cartoon-like in style and might therefore be particularly appealing to under 18s. The Panel discussed the image at length and considered that the image was not a
cartoon or cartoon like and that it more closely resembled a piece of art or oil painting than it did a cartoon. The Panel recognised that the colours used on the image were of a mature, shaded hue and that the image lacked luminescence or the bright
colours that might be appealing to a younger audience. The Panel also concluded that the image was very old fashioned and traditional in style and was reminiscent of Victorian book illustrations and did not resemble any modern cartoons or characters.
The Panel discussed whether the image exhibited any visual clues or similarities to the archetypal pirate image that is commonly used in children stories and would therefore be recognisable by, and appealing to, children. The Panel considered that there
were no obvious similarities between the image used on the product and the pirate images commonly depicted in children's stories, such as an eye patch or wooden leg, and recognised that the image was of in fact of a 17th Century Sea Captain and not a
Considering the lack of resemblance between the Captain Morgan image and archetypal pirate commonly used in children's stories, the old fashioned and adult style of illustration and muted colours used, the Panel concluded that it did not breach Code rule
Adverts promoting unpolitically correct body images will be banned across the Transport for London (TfL) network from next month.
London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, has asked TfL to set up its own advertising censors.
The so called 'steering group' will advise TfL's advertising partners and stakeholders of the mayor's new policy and will ensure adverts continue to adhere to the regulations set out by the ASA. Khan said:
As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end.
Graeme Craig, TfL commercial development director, said:
Advertising on our network is unlike TV, online and print media. Our customers cannot simply switch off or turn a page if an advertisement offends or upsets them and we have a duty to ensure the copy we carry reflects that unique environment.
Feminists were quick to support the move but interestingly the BBC also noted that social media users warned it was the start of the Islamification of London and said the mayor was adopting this policy because of his religious values.
The anti-drink campaign group Alcohol Concern has whinged about the packaging for Kopparberg Frozen Fruit Cider. The campaigners claimed that the drink did not make clear that it contained alcohol and that the packaging would appeal to youngsters due to
similarities with an unspecified popular non-alcoholic drink.
The complaint was not upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel (ICP), part of the Portman Group, an industry organisation that censors UK drinks packaging.
The Panel discussed whether the alcoholic nature of the drink was communicated with absolute clarity. They found that the word cider and contains alcohol were prominent on the packaging as was the ABV strength. Accordingly, the Panel did
not uphold the product under Code rule 3.1
The Panel deliberated whether the packaging could particularly appeal to those under 18. The Panel noted a number of significant differences in comparison to the packaging of well-known soft drinks. The product did not have a straw and was not designed
to be consumed directly from the pouch. The product was intended to be taken home, frozen and then poured into a glass. The Panel considered that this ritual was targeted at an adult audience.
The Panel also concluded that the colours used on the packaging, particularly the use of black, gave the product a premium appearance that would be more appealing to adults.
Accordingly, the Panel did not uphold the product under Code rule 3.2(h), particular appeal to children.
Nobody should be surprised that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has instituted effective blasphemy laws to defend
himself from criticism in Turkey. But many of us had assumed that these lèse-majesté laws would not yet be put in place inside Europe.
At the end of last month, during a late-night comedy programme, a young German comedian called Jan Böhmermann included a poem that was rude about Erdogan. Incidentally the point of Mr Böhmermann's skit was to highlight the obscenity of Turkey already
trying to censor satire in Germany.
What happened next happened in swift order. First of all the Turks complained to their German counterparts. Within a few days the programme had been pulled. A few more days and it was whitewashed out of existence altogether. In the meantime Mr Böhmermann
himself was forced to go under police protection. The worst blow then came late last week when Chancellor Merkel allowed the prosecution of Mr Böhmermann to go ahead in Germany. Strangely enough, Chancellor Merkel is currently pretending that the trial
of a German comedian in Germany for insulting a foreign despot is a liberal act. .
Well I'm a free-born British man, and we don't live under the blasphemy laws of such despots. So in honour of this fact I have spent the weekend writing rude limericks about Mr Erdogan. And I would hereby like to invite all readers to join me in a grand
Erdogan limerick competition. That isn't to say that entries which come in the form of Iambic pentameters, or heroic couplets will be completely discounted. I think a work in the Homeric mode, for example, about the smallness of Erdogan's manhood could
(if suitably disgusting) stand some chance of winning. But I recommend limericks because almost everything insulting that is worth saying can usually be included within the five lines of that beautiful and delicate form.
A generous reader, who shares the Spectator's belief in the freedom of speech, is offering a £1000 prize for the best limerick. We've had some great entries so far, please keep them coming.
And the melon farmers get the ball rolling:
There was a little dicked hater from Turkey,
Who got his hooks into a frau somewhat murky,
He bullied and cajoled,
Got free speech overruled,
And celebrated by fucking the donkey.
Well the entries have been flooding in for the Insult Erdogan Poetry Contest . Thousands and thousands of them in fact, with entries from all over the world. The volume is quite extraordinary, particularly the number that are being submitted in
Next week there is going to be a major development as I unveil the international prize jury who are going to help judge the event. I am proud to say that we already have an extraordinary array of international literary stars who are going to help
adjudicate what is now the world's highest paying poetry prize.
Positive Hell is a 2014 UK / Spain documentary by Andi Reiss.
POSITIVE HELL is the story of five individuals who have defied their doctors and lived on for nearly thirty years with a diagnosis of death. The film highlights a network of people diagnosed HIV positive in the province of Galicia, Northern Spain. How
can this be? Haven't we been told that everyone who tests positive is sure to die? Do these people have a special magic gene that protects them against HIV? Or could it be that this death sentence has been mistaken all along? The five protagonists
describe their struggle to survive when faced with a death sentence, their experiences as social pariahs, their battles with doctors and the medical orthodoxy and their absolute conviction that the science behind AIDS is cruelly wrong.
LIFF, the London Independent Film Festival has axed its screening of the film Positive Hell, scheduled for April 17, in a move described by the film's writer and narrator, Joan Shenton, as blatant censorship and the latest case of 'no
Shenton said that she had been contacted by LIFF director, Erich Schultz, to say that he had pulled the film after four HIV/AIDS campaign groups had threatened protests at the screening venue and at festival sponsors' premises if we [LIFF]
don't comply . Schultz also said he had received over twenty protest letters .
Positive Hell was successfully screened at the Frontline Club in Paddington, London, last year after similar threats, though no protest actually materialised at that screening.
Joan Shenton said:
Positive Hell, the right to free speech and the HIV-positive people honestly depicted in the film are the victims of barefaced censorship. The film presents a view of HIV and AIDS which is not shared by the giant pharmaceutical companies, their lobby
groups and some activists, but it is an evidence-based view nonetheless and has just as much right to be aired and debated as any other.
I am flabbergasted by LIFF's censorship in response to a handful of emails that were clearly designed to shut down this debate by intimidating the festival and its sponsors. It questions just how 'independent' the London Independent Film Festival really
Following its controversial no platform banning by the London Independent Film Festival (LIFF), announced on Monday , the HIV & AIDs film Positive Hell is to be screened in London this coming Sunday, the day originally scheduled by LIFF, but
independently of the supposedly independent festival. The film's writer, narrator and co-producer, Joan Shenton, announced this afternoon:
We do not accept that London's so-called 'independent' film festival should censor our film in this high-handed way, nor that it has the right to tell London film-goers what they can and cannot watch, just because it was 'got at' by four charities who
have a vested interest in not challenging the AIDS status quo.
So the screening of Positive Hell will go ahead, irrespective of LIFF, at noon on Sunday April 17, at the Soho Screening Rooms in D'Arblay Street, W1, followed by a Q&A. And this time tickets are available at no charge. This is Britain, not some
Other quite mainstream film festivals are very happy to screen Positive Hell. It was even nominated for best documentary at the Marbella International Film Festival, as well as being selected for LA Cinefest, the Digital Griffix online festival and the
Indie Festival 01. And the previous time we screened Positive Hell in London, we received similar threats but nothing ever came of them.
I believe this decision by Mr Shultz and his student selection panel is timid and incredibly short-sighted, as well as being blatant censorship and yet another denial of free speech through the practice of 'no platforming'. But we will not be censored.
Sunday's screening will go ahead from noon in its new venue, and will be followed by a Q&A which may well touch on censorship as well as debating, rather than silencing, the issues raised by the film.
The screening of Positive Hell will take place at Soho Screening Rooms, 14 D'Arblay St, London W1F 8DY. Doors will open at noon for a 12.30 showing, followed by a Q&A.
Offsite Comment: Positive Hell: silencing the HIV heretics
The legality of Britain's surveillance laws used for the mass snooping of communications come unders the intense scrutiny of 15 European
judges on Tuesday in a politically sensitive test case that could limit powers to gather online data.
The outcome of the hearing at the European court of justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg is likely to influence the final shape of the government's investigatory powers bill and will test judicial relationships within the EU.
Around a dozen EU states including the UK have intervened in the challenge against the government's Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (Dripa) that was originally brought by two MPs , the Conservative David Davis and Labour's deputy leader,
The British case is being heard in conjunction with a Swedish case based on similar principles.
Matthew Doyle was arrested for posting a non threatening tweet with a rather blunt criticism of the muslim community. He tweeted:
I confronted a Muslim woman in Croydon yesterday. I asked her to explain Brussels. She said 'nothing to do with me'. A mealy mouthed reply.
His comment went viral, being retweeted hundreds of times before he eventually deleted it. Doyle told the Telegraph he had no idea his tweet would be the hand grenade it has proven to be - and that Twitter's 140 character limit made the encounter
sound vastly different to how he thought it went.
Doyle said the tweet was intended as a joke and explained further:
What everyone's got wrong about this is I didn't confront the woman, he said. I just said: 'Excuse me, can I ask what you thought about the incident in Brussels?'
I'm not some far-right merchant, I'm not a mouthpiece for any kind of racism or radicalism, he says. If I was xenophobic I wouldn't live in London.
He added however that he does believe Muslims aren't doing enough to speak out against terrorism.
Doyle was charged and was due to appear at Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court on Saturday. But on Friday night the Met police said the charge had been dropped after it emerged the police officer in question had jumped the gun and charged Mr Doyle when
in fact he needed CPS approval to do so. In a statement, the Met said:
Following discussion with the Crown Prosecution Service, Mr Doyle is no longer charged with the offence and will not be appearing at court. Police may not make charging decisions on offences under Section 19 of the Public Order Act. There will be further
consultation with CPS.
But of course the police arrest will have already sent the message that islam is beyond even mild criticism, adding to the undercurrent of feeling that people are censored from simply criticising a religion that begets so much violence around the world.
No wonder people are looking to the likes of Donald Trump to counter a world where political correctness has gone mad.
Offsite Comment: Met Police: armed wing of the offence-taking industry
Within hours of sending his tweet, Doyle received a knock on the door from the Metropolitan Police, and was remanded in custody on
charges of inciting racial hatred. Doyle spoke about the arrest this weekend: I cannot understand why I was detained, my flat trashed, my passports seized, and two PCs, two tablets and my phone taken. Doyle, we should remember, was not arrested
for anything he did -- he was arrested for something he said on Twitter.