The freedom of speech granted to all citizens is a fine line to walk between protecting the rights of unpopular speech, and stopping those who cross the line. At least that is what some people believe. Others believe the freedom of speech includes all forms of hate speech, and as long as a person is not physically harming another person they should be able to say or do whatever they want. After all the freedom of speech does not exist so that people can talk about the weather.
This scenario was put to the test during a University of Wisconsin football game when a student decided to be an idiot and wear a mask of President Barack Obama while having a noose tied around his neck. To further compound the idiocy another student was dressed like Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump who was holding the rope. From time to time the Obama wearing mask student would switch out and put on a mask of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The students were not reprimanded or expelled, but they were asked to remove the noose from the costume. In an official statement the school said:
The costume, while repugnant and COUNTER TO THE VALUES OF THE UNIVERSITY AND ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT, was an exercise of the individual’s right to free speech. The university also exercised its rights by asking the individual to remove the offensive parts of the costume.
This is the school’s official Tweet:
@woahohkatie We don’t support offensive image of a noose, but this is a form of free speech. Guest Services asked them to remove & they did.
— Wisconsin Badgers (@UWBadgers) October 30, 2016