Is profanity covered under freedom of speech?

United States
December 23, 2010 7:37pm CST
This man appeared on the news tonight http://www.wisn.com/news/26262310/detail.html he was cited nearly $500 for cussing on a Milwaukee County Transit System bus. I had never heard of profanity being disorderly conduct, perhaps if it was in the case of an argument causing an excessive public disturbance. But just because someone was talking normally and it was profain as some people do find it normal to talk constantly that way not just inserting a cuss word here and there in a conversation. But the thought came up if freedom of speech covers use of profanity? I don't see why it wouldn't? And seriously, if you want to teach someone a lesson I think $50-100 is plenty.
2 people like this
10 responses
@dragon54u (31352)
• United States
24 Dec 10
The First Amendment is applied selectively nowadays. That man should have been protected by it. In some states he would be prosecuted and some he wouldn't--like California. In some states you can use racial slurs without consequences and in others you're prosecuted for a hate crime. Here in Ohio, we have religious billboards and billboards that state the harm abortion does to women. In Arizona those would not be tolerated and the ones putting them up would be sued. Your protection under the First Amendment seems to depends on where you are. On the Pacific Coast the KKK can march but here in the Midwest they would not get a permit--in my small city they could not get a permit because of the danger to public safety posed by their hateful rhetoric. I guess it depends on where you live.
• United States
24 Dec 10
I cursed at lady in front of a cop and got a hundred dollar fine. I was to appear in court to dispute it. But,I sat there for so long and the judge was hitting people with the fine and a surcharge. I ran out went to the window and paid the money and left.
• United States
24 Dec 10
Yeah I remember when you posted about that fine you were given. But yours wasn't even $500, $100 is hard enough on most people but $500 can really put someone out big time
@SomeCowgirl (32273)
• United States
4 Jul 11
To be honest it just sounds like Milwaukee is desperate for money. That's the way it sounds to me atleast as $500.00 is an outrage and the charge is too. I don't feel like anyone who was just cursing should be fined, now if he constnatly did it and it provoked an argument, MAYBE.
@dorannmwin (36695)
• United States
27 Dec 10
The thing about this that I think is very odd about this is the fact that what you think of as being a profanity might not be the same thing that I would consider to be a profanity. Therefore, I can see where there are certain words that really aren't appropriate to be used in public, but if you are going to punish someone for using those words in public, the punishment should not be any more harsh than the punishment for not wearing a seatbelt.
@coffeebreak (17820)
• United States
25 Dec 10
I think Freedom of speech is a crutch for just not being considerate and decent. Foul language does nothing to enhance the conversation, does nothing to better the translation, does nothing to get the point across...so why use it? Because it sparks attention and that is what people want and are trying to get. Take out all the cussing and what they are saying might not be heard by many, but if they make a scene..more will at least stop and look at them. There is so much foul language on tv these days I turn it off. What about my freedom of speech to have clean speech and not have to listen to the cussing? No one ever mentions that! I think fining for foul language in a court room is totally fine. There needs to be respect and orderlyness and everyone just cussing at each other is not going to make things go well or smoothly and it will just start court room fights. What ever happened to respect and consideration....
• United States
25 Dec 10
i was at a ball game and cussed a ref for constant bad call and a cop told me to leave or i would get a ticket. i just happened to be sitting by a prominate attorney here and he step in and gave the officers a chewing about free speech and although it is not incouraged to do it sometimes you still do. our constitution covers that right. and last year an amendment was aadded to cover what is written because it is a form of speech and thought. so the attorney said anyway.
• United States
24 Dec 10
depends on where you live-some states have blue laws about swearing that pre date the constitution.i know mine does. but,yea unless they're flying the really bad ones nonstop,they should get a warning to shut up.could have been his volume too.
• Philippines
24 Dec 10
Really? $500? That's way too much. I mean, if it's here people wouldn't care about it. You're right, it's normal to sometimes hear bad words. Are all the passengers there below ten years old? Coz if they are then the punishment is just right. If they're not, what they did to the guy is crazy and way over the line.
• United States
24 Dec 10
Although I am no saint by no means, I certainly cannot stand when people have the need to use profanity in their lingo. I have a brother in-law who speaks loudly and each and every other word is a swear word. I feel he specifically does this to draw attention and thinks it is funny. It certainly does not help that others find him funny either. As for me I am embarrassed to be standing anywhere near him each and every time he opens his mouth. I feel some people should really take note as to how they speak as it really does say a great deal about who they are. As my brother in-law is show-off, clown and silly all in one.
@Hatley (162053)
• Garden Grove, California
24 Dec 10
3snugglesbunnies oh there are so many other words to show you are upset why do people have to curse, specially taking the Lord 'name iun vain. I really think its wrong but the amount 50 dollars ought to be enuough.Freedom of speech may not mind damn or darn but the f work and the horrible taking of God';s name is morally wrong.I really do not think profanity is a right of speeecn so guess i am a party pooper.