Tee shirts have been a weapon of protest for decades. In the 1960s, people sported the image of Argentinian-born revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara on tee shirts and jackets. More recently, people have sported “Je Suis Charlie” tee shirts in response to the attacks on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and “I Can’t Breathe” tee shirts in protest of Eric Garner’s death.
But “I’m With Stupid” tee shirts?
A group of 10 police officers arrested Iain Fogerty of Queensland, Australia on January 8, charging him with public nuisance. Fogerty, who runs a Twitter handle parodying the Queensland Premier, wore an “I’m With Stupid” tee shirt while standing next to campaigners from the Liberal National Party (LNP, a conservative political party in Queensland).
“T-shirts are a great way to send a message and test your freedom of speech,” says Eric Uzelac of The Shirt Printer.
Campaign teams for the LNP and the Australian Labor Party, an Australian democratic socialist party, had set up opposing rallies on the opposite ends of a road in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, which was when Fogerty stood next to the LNP, indicating that they were the “stupid” he was with.
“It was just totally over the top,” said Clair Moore, a Labor Senator. “Rather than telling the bloke to just move on, they arrest him.”
Fogerty’s lawyer, Peter Shields, said that he believes the arrest for public nuisance was not appropriate or justified in the circumstances.
However, a Queensland Police Service spokesperson said, “There was a guy who was being disruptive, pushing people around and stuff like that.”
Judi Jabour, a campaign manager for the Australian Labor Party, said that the situation was ridiculous, saying, “All he was doing was standing there waving with an ‘I’m with Stupid’ T-shirt on and Luke Barnes, Robert Cavallucci’s campaign director, seemed to take offence.”
It should also be noted that arresting Fogerty, it seems, has only fanned the flames higher.
Moore also said, “I have been campaigning for more years than I care to recall and I have never seen anything like this before.”