News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Feb. 18, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A Georgia lawmaker is being flooded with hate mail from all over the country. State Rep. Earnest Smith is co-sponsoring a bill to ban Photoshopping someone's head on a naked body.
Opponents argue this is a form of free speech and have put his face on naked people all over the Web. Smith normally looks like a distinguished, accomplished, privileged gentleman, but there are some pictures that make him look like a porn star.
"You look and you say, it's amazing the creative things these people do and the time they waste doing this stuff," Smith said.
Smith's face has been Photoshopped, chopped and cropped on pics like the creation, on a horse's head and on a wrestler in a headlock.
"They thought we're trying to change our First Amendment rights. It's the last thing we would attempt to do without some logical reason," Smith said.
Smith is co-sponsoring House Bill 39. The bill makes it illegal to Photoshop a person's head and puts them in a sexual or obscene situation. Click here to read the legislation.
"The constitution doesn't protect us from or against objectionable speech. Who is to decide what is objectionable speech? What is objectionable speech to me may not be to you," said GRU student John Greene.
Smith says the bill was intended for kids. Opponents believe this takes on our First Amendment rights. News 12 took the pictures of Rep. Smith to college students at GRU for their take.
"I don't think you can stop somebody from doing that. We have computers and things available," said student Josh Dillard.
"It's wrong to make somebody appear like they're doing something they're not. It's like slander," said student Jonathan O'Neal.
The government already has laws that deal with slander, libel and defamation. Supporters say pictures like these are the price we pay for freedom of speech.