On May 15th, 1992, Metal Blade's own GWAR were giving one of their awesomely entertaining live performances at the Georgia Theater. Known for their graphically visual multi-media stage shows, GWAR has developed a huge following in the U.S. and are considered by many to be one of the more creative live acts around. GWAR has performed previously in Athens, Georgia without incident until the middle of the May 15th show, when Sergeant Pritchett of the Athens-Clarke County Police "closed down" the Georgia Theater. The reason given was Athens-Clarke County Ordinance #6-3-5 (aa)(3) which prohibits any licensed seller of alcohol from having persons appear in attire that exposes genitalia "or any simulation thereof." However, no parts of any band member's genitalia were shown. The City of Athens did not claim that the show was obscene (obscenity is a separate subsection of the Ordinance.) This act of unprecedented censorship was apparently motivated by an officer's personal distaste for certain parts of the band's performance.
Desirous to avoid the cost of litigation in the GWAR/ACLU vs. Athens-Clarke County suit, county officials have opted to settle the case out of court. GWAR and area fans of the band planned to file suit against Athens-Clarke County for "alleged constitutional violations in the closing of the May 15th performance by GWAR" at the Georgia Theater--but the county caved in.
The settlement is broken down as follows: the bands fans Davis Ripley Keller, Robert Kurt Wewers and William Anderson received the sum of $600.33 each. GWAR received the sum of $15,000 to be distributed as follows--$10,000 to be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia to "continue its anti-censorship efforts and other pursuits," $2,500 to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and $2,500 to cover losses incurred and expenses of litigation. Finally an amount of $699 to the ACLU of Georgia for attorney's fees.
The members of GWAR and the band's attorney discussed the settlement at a press conference on November 16 in Atlanta.
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