An open letter from Mayor Terry Bellamy and all Asheville City Council members urges the public to avoid this Sunday’s GoTopless rally, noting that they “do not endorse” the female attendees exposing their breasts to public view. Council members also asserts that, due to state law, the city’s options are limited.
The Asheville Citizen-Times goes a step further, reporting on Aug. 23 that several North Carolina cities actually do restrict public nudity.
The full letter is below:
An Open Letter to Citizens and Visitors of Asheville,
As many of you are aware, an event known as “GoTopless” is scheduled to occur in downtown Asheville this Sunday. If it is similar to last year’s event, a number of female attendees may be topless, exposing their breasts to public view.
As citizens of Asheville and individual members of Asheville City Council, we do not endorse this conduct. We believe that it does nothing to help our community, and we recognize that it disappoints and embarrasses many of our citizens and visitors. We wish it were not happening.
Despite our hopes over the past few months that this could be addressed by city ordinance, legal research indicates that this is a matter of State law, and that our city’s options are very limited. As soon as possible, we fully intend to seek legislation in Raleigh that will clarify the law and enable Asheville and other communities in North Carolina to respond more effectively. Please join us in urging our legislators in that direction.
As for the event that is set to occur this Sunday, we urge citizens and visitors to avoid the event. Please do enjoy our vibrant downtown this Sunday in other ways, including your support for the Goombay Festival, other events, and our great downtown businesses.
Terry M. Bellamy, Mayor
Esther Manheimer, Vice-Mayor
Cecil Bothwell, Councilman
Jan Davis, Councilman
Marc Hunt, Councilman
Chris Pelly, Councilman
Gordon Smith, Councilman