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Anti-Trump sign with expletive drawing attention in Mason City: Free speech or crossing the line?

The sign, which reads 'F*** Trump,' is on a fence along Highway 65 on the north end of Mason City.

Posted: Oct 6, 2020 10:45 PM
Updated: Oct 7, 2020 6:32 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - Drive through any town in our area and you'll see campaign signs everywhere.  One particular sign is getting some folks in Mason City downright agitated.

The sign in question is on a fence on the north end of Mason City, right along Highway 65.  It simply reads 'F*** Trump 2020.'

"It is not a word that should be displayed again for minors and children, people to be forced to look at that who live near by," said Cerro Gordo County GOP Chairwoman Barbara Hovland, who thinks the sign violates Iowa's obscenity laws.  She's reached out to city leaders to see what can be done.

"I did leave the Mayor a voicemail and an email and he did respond back via text and said that he was working on the situation and he was concerned about it as well," said Hovland.

Mason City attorney Richard Piscopo maintains the sign, offensive or not, is absolutely protected.

"Profanity is completely protected when it comes to political speech or political points of view. Whether or not they're favorable or unfavorable. The U.S. Supreme Court has indicated that if it's based on a political message, that it's completely protected by the first amendment," said Piscopo.

According to Piscopo, the highest court in the land settled the issue during another divisive era in our country's history.

"Primarily during the Vietnam war, when people were wearing essentially shirts and jackets or even flying upside down flags in their windows, the government, the Supreme Court found that to be protected by the first amendment," he said.

Though he says the expletive emblazoned sign is protected, Piscopo views it as an example of just how nasty politics has become.

"It's unfortunate from the top to the bottom, it's being promoted and presented in the wrong manner."

KIMT News 3 tried to reach out to the occupant of the home for comment.  They were not home at the time.

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