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‘Bigfoot’ suit: NH is stomping on civil liberties
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - First there was a Bigfoot sighting. Now, there’s a Bigfoot suing.
A performance artist and amateur filmmaker who dressed as the mythical beast says New Hampshire park rangers didn’t have the right to kick him off a mountain where he had been scaring, or at least amusing, hikers while friends videotaped his antics.
Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Jonathan Doyle is suing the state, arguing that the requirement to pay $100 for a special use permit 30 days in advance and get a $2 million insurance bond violates his free speech rights.
“The underlying activities are humorous, but the principle’s important,” said Jon Meyer, a lawyer representing Doyle. “We’re talking about a very small-scale activity in a very large place. We don’t believe there’s any legitimate government role in regulation.”
Doyle’s attorneys say no one complained to the state park service after Doyle first dressed as Bigfoot, ran around the rocky top of Mount Monadnock, returned to human form and interviewed bystanders about what they saw Sept. 6, 2009.
“People loved it. It was socially engaging,” Doyle, 30, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “When I showed up at the top of the mountain dressed as Bigfoot and beating my chest, everyone just laughed and hoorayed.”
“At first I thought it was just a man in a suit making some sort of documentary, but then I saw it devour this man’s friend and a small child,” one man said at the top of the popular hiking spot as others behind him relaxed, admired the view and drank water. “I still see blood on the rocks.”
A boy who looked to be about 10 said he even took a photo of the legendary monster, which is more strongly associated with the Pacific Northwest than New Hampshire. “Yeah. I’m gonna put it on eBay, sell it for like $50,” he said.
When Doyle let it get out that he planned to return Sept. 19 to film a sequel, Monadnock park manager Patrick Hummel noticed. The subject line in an e-mail he wrote to his supervisor: “Bigfoot problem on Monadnock…not kidding.”
So when Doyle returned with a small band of costumed friends to film “The Capture of Bigfoot,” they were captured themselves, sort of. Hummel interrupted the skit and barred them from filming, saying Doyle needed a permit.
“Here I am in a Bigfoot outfit, and he’s an authority figure and he’s got a job to do,” Doyle said, during a telephone interview from the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he is waiting tables to support his artwork.
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