bigfoot scare; freedom of speech; bigfoot sues; wacky bigfoot; legal battle over free speech

Guy who dresses up as Bigfoot to entertain or scare hikers sues state for making him leave the mountain.

Park Rangers and the State of New Hampshire Sued by Bigfoot

 People sometimes make some decisions that get them into trouble. Let’s take Jonathan Doyle for instance. In 2011, the performance artist thought that it would be a good idea to put on a bigfoot suit and to head out into the mountains of New Hampshire. He thought that it would be fun to amuse the hikers who were on the trails. The story could go in a number of different directions from this point. You’ve probably heard stories about people who have been dressed up as bigfoot and who have gotten hit by cars or shot. That’s not where this case is going though, as you can probably tell from the title.

What Happened to Bigfoot?

The park rangers didn’t find Jonathan Doyle’s performance art to be very entertaining, so they decided that they would make him leave the mountain. Doyle decided that he would then sue the state. The lawsuit stated that “the requirement to pay $100 for a special use permit 30 days in advance and get a $2 million insurance bond violates his free speech rights”. He has done other things, such as dress up as an angel and stand in a church, and drive a Batmobile around Manhattan. He’s no stranger to performance art, but he doesn’t generally face this much controversy.

Doyle’s attorneys said that no one on the mountain complained about his activities running around in the costume, and that he went back, without the costume, to interview the people and to talk with them about what they saw. He went on to say that people liked it and that they thought it was funny. This was during his first outing as bigfoot. He planned to go back, and that’s when the authorities decided to pounce and catch themselves a bigfoot.

The park rangers received word that he would be coming back, and they checked out his YouTube channel, which had video from the first outing, including the interviews with hikers. Doyle and friends were going to go back on the 19th of September, 2009, to shoot another video called “The Capture of Bigfoot”. The rangers saw this as an opportune time to capture them instead.

During the first case, the courts agreed with the state and decided that Doyle was in the wrong. He and his attorney, and the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, appealed the case and brought it all the way to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. They actually won their case in 2012 and said that what Doyle was doing was an exercise in free speech. This was a big win for Doyle, and for free speech.

That’s not to say that it’s always a good idea to dress up like bigfoot and run around the woods though. It still has the potential to be dangerous, but Doyle was in a safe location when he did this. If you decide to dress up as a legendary creature, be careful about where you do it.