SPCS Press Release 1 July 2008
John Mills, President of the Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc, (SPCS) has hailed as “bold, morally courageous and legally sound”, the classification decision issued to him today by the Chief Censor’s Office, that permanently bans a T-shirt he argued was “grossly objectionable due to its obscene content” and “completely vilifies the central figure of Christianity”. The Censor’s Office agreed with Mr Mills, an elder at the Kapiti Christian Centre, that the T-shirt, worn and flaunted in a large public gathering on the Kapiti Coast and a part-image (censored) of which was published in the Kapiti Observer newspaper, should be classified “objectionable”.
The censor noted its sexually degrading image of a traditional Roman Catholic nun, and its grossly obscene and blasphemous language directed at the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is worshipped, adored. praised and revered as the central Person of Christianity. The use of vile Satanic imagery emblazoned on the T-shirt, including depictions of dripping blood, linked to the heavy metal band “Cradle of Filth” and lewd and inflammatory content directed at Christians, was also noted by the censors. (Mills praises the Kapiti-Observer for initially highlighting the nature of the offensive apparel).
In the classification decision (No. 800513) on the apparel entitled “Vestal Mastur#ation (Cradle of Filth)” dated 26 June 2008, signed by Ms Nicola McCully, the Deputy Chief Censor, it states:
“The injury to the public good that is likely to be caused by the availability of this T-shirt originates from the manner in which it associates an aggressive and misogynistic meaning of the “harsh, brutal and generally unacceptable” word c### with Jesus Christ, and depicts an image of a chaste woman engaging in sexual activity. A fair interpretation of the messages conveyed by this T-shirt is that Christians should be vilified for their religious beliefs, and that women, including chaste and celibate women, cannot stop themselves engaging in sexual activity…” (OFLC No. 800513)
John Mills points out that the Society itself was founded by a nun – the late Patricia Bartlett (d. 2000) – who regularly had to put up with anti-Christian vitriol from the Society’s detractors who promoted sexually offensive and degrading images of women (hard core pornography) that regularly represent them an inherently inferior. Mills says “I am shocked that censors, in particular female censors like McCully, can allow truckloads of hard core porn to be classified for adult home entertainment use in New Zealand, ‘for sexual titillation purposes’, when they all know that research shows that such images, repeatedly viewed, fuel a misogynistic and sexually depraved mindset that produces the bad fruits of rape, incest, pedophilia and a host of other morally depraved vices.”
For bacground to this complaint see: http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/local/news/offensive-religious-t-shirt-angers/3674327/
See TV3 news report:
Chief censor bans heavy metal
T-shirt of filth
Chief censor bans heavy metal t-shirt of filth
Wed, 02 Jul 2008 11:16p.m.
A t-shirt advertising a British metal group’s album has been banned in New Zealand.
Chief censor Bill Hastings says it is the most offensive piece of clothing he has ever seen, “because it fuses religion with the most aggressive, misogynistic word in the English language, with sexual activity depicted on the front that implies even celibate women can not resist sex”.
The top has been deemed ‘injurious to the public good’ and capable of inciting religious hatred.
“It’s illegal to possess it, it’s illegal to deal with it in any way. Sell it, rent it, hire it, give it,” says Mr Hastings.
The t-shirt advertises an album by extreme British metal group, Cradle of Filth. In Australia, a 16-year-old was arrested and charged with offensive behaviour for wearing it.
Here, a member of the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards brought it to the chief censor’s attention.
“The language used is totally unacceptable, and it’s always been regarded as obscene and whenever that word is used and directed at the founder of a belief system it’s sure to cause grave offence,” says David Lane.
But highly offensive language by itself is not enough to have a publication banned. In this case, it is the sexually explicit imagery on the front of the t-shirt combined with those words which has made it illegal.
Mr Hastings says while there is a chance to appeal the decision, so far no one has.