The city of Portland, Maine, has reached a deal with a man it charged with disorderly conduct for whistling too loud.
Robert Smith aka “The Whistler” has been summonsed, arrested and taken to court for wandering the streets of downtown while whistling loudly.
Now, the city has ordered Mr. Smith to continuously walk while he whistles and has prohibited him from staying in one place.
Mr. Smith told the Portland Press Herald his whistling — audible a block away — is protected free speech, but some residents aren’t buying it.
“It just got to the point last summer where the complaints just mounted,” said prosecutor Trish McAllister. “He’s so loud.”
Mr. Smith’s goal, he says, is to spread joy. He’s said that, aside from the legal troubles, people are normally pleased to hear his tunes.
“I’m not out here to be the best whistler in the world,” he told the Herald. “I’m just trying to make people smile.”
“The Whistler” is a cult figure in Portland, appearing in blogs, videos and local media.
A city ordinance specifically mentions whistling as a disorderly behavior — along with hooting and other unnecessary noises — which carries fines ranging from $100 to $500.