Go Topless organizer appears downtown with topless women

The organizer of next weekend’s Go Topless rally walked downtown with two topless women Friday afternoon, Aug. 17. Jeff Johnson, of Huntsville, Alabama, appeared on the street with women who identified themselves only by their first names, Lacey and Carrie.

The trio drew both cheers and jeers from passersby and frequently brought street traffic to a halt. 

Johnson said the women were exercising their constitutional rights, pointing out that even though toplessness is not mentioned in America’s highest law, there are guarantees for equal protection for both sexes. 

“There is no constitutional right to walk topless unless the men do too. Women and men should be able to be treated the exact same way, no matter what,” said Johnson. “Asheville is one of the few enlightened cities that does it this way.” He added, “The civil rights are there to protect you even if people don’t like what you do. That’s what civil rights are all about.” 

Johnson said he has already filed permits for the larger upcoming rally, planned for August 26. A similar rally was held downtown last year. 

Asked if he was connected with the Raelians, a religious group that believes in divine extraterrestrial beings and was rumored to have organized last year’s Go Topless rally, Johnson said no. 

“However, everything that the Raelians do, I’m for,” he said. “I’m not a Raelian, I don’t believe like they do, but I believe in everything they believe in. They believe in equality for women.”

Johnson said he was aware of counter-protests being planned in response to his rally. Local conservative firebrand and former Asheville City Council member Carl Mumpower is among the opposition. 

“That’s his civil right,” said Johnson, “and we’re civil-rights advocates, so I’m all for him protesting.” 


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

11 thoughts on “Go Topless organizer appears downtown with topless women

  1. bsummers

    Thank goodness we have this to gawk at & talk about. Otherwise we’d have to talk about the fact that Tim Moffitt is apparently planning to erase the City of Asheville from the map.

    • mat catastrophe

      I am willing to bet it was an empty threat. I doubt seriously he would have that kind of political capital and, even if he did, the consequences of failing at something like that would be devastating.

      You should be more concerned he doesn’t return next year with a version of Michigan’s Emergency Manager law.

    • Dionysis

      I don’t find these two gawk-worthy. Sorry ladies, but an ever-so-quick glimpse was all I could handle.

  2. Lamdba

    As late as 1960 a guy could get a ticket for being shirtless in central park; the women are just catching up. Society will go on.

  3. Avl Women for Equality

    Although it is not getting nearly enough press as this event, there is an event that respects the sanctity of the reasons behind Women’s Equality Day. That Seminar and Rally will take place on the same day at Pritchard Park. It starts at 10:00 and goes to 2:30. Speakers from ERA-NC Citizens Task Force, The Wage Project, Asheville Buncombe Institute for Parity Achievement, and other experts are scheduled to discuss issues such as Fair Pay, Violence Against Women, why getting the ERA ratified is important, and other topics.

    For more information go to http://www.3wf-ashevillewomenforequality.com

    Please understand that an event such as the topless rally only mocks women’s attempts for true equality and demeans women because the real reason behind the topless event is NOT to get equality, but to allow men to oogle women’s breasts, and to stir up outrage and controversu/

  4. MG Massey

    womens rights.. yeah right.. why not ask why domestic violence isn’t aggressively prosecuted, why not ask what happened to 16 rape kits that had no names out of Medfords old troubles? Why not ask why this tourist town is the worse so called liberal town on womens rights… I think the idiocy of these owmen is legion.. we have so many perverts in this damn town. all you bare breasted ones did was encourage the creeps.. Go do some real advocacy for women.. we did the naked thing in the seventies and it didn’t change a damn thing

  5. ScottSacCa

    These ladies look LOVELY. Thanks girls for daring. I’d walk with you anytime ;)

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.