In Philly, Neither Artists Nor "Red Hot Sex" Give Rise to a Federal Cause of Action.

Perry Milou is a pop artist — http://www.perrymilou.com/website/. To make himself better known, back in 2007, he decided to host an art exhibition and show entitled “Red Hot: The Art of Sensuality and Sexuality” — http://pdf.wcmlaw.com/pdf/Red Hot Website.pdf. The exhibition included art work and couple’s sessions on such topics as body piercing, pole dancing and spanking. The problem? His landlord at Rittenhouse Plaza in Philadelphia — one of the most prestigious buildings and locations in the City — didn’t want such an exhibition on its premises. He was told that if the exhibition went forward, his month to month lease would be terminated. So what did Mr. Milou do? He had the exhibition. And, his landlord terminated the lease. A press furor resulted. http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/local&id=5746584 But then the public lost interest and the case went away, until, that is, this past February when Mr. Milou went legal. He claimed that his First Amendment rights had been violated. He made this claim by first alleging that he, an artist, was a member of a suspect class entitled to Sec. 1985 protection. When this didn’t work, he claimed that his landlord was acting under color of state law and made a Sec. 1983 claim. In a case with which we are quite familiar, the lawsuit has just been dismissed by USDC Judge Dalzell in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. http://pdf.wcmlaw.com/pdf/Red Hot Opinion.pdf The decision is quite funny on its own (especially footnote # 1) and James Madison does not have to roll over in his grave.

If you would like more information about this post or WCM’s First Amendment defense practice, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com.