Jasmine McNealy Interviewed on Free Speech Incident in Gainesville
Jasmine McNealy, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Telecommunication assistant professor, was featured in “Women’s March Mural on 34th St. Wall Defaced” broadcast on June 13 on Gainesviile (Fla.) ABC-affiliate WCJB-TV20.
The story focused on the “Seeds of Resistance” mural painted on the 34th Street wall in honor of the Women’s March movement. One day after it was finished, vandals defaced the messages on the wall and painted negative comments about the LGBTQ community sparking a debate about free speech.
“Any kind of graffiti is considered defacement or vandalism, but the culture within the city of Gainesville is that we don’t care about the wall on 34th Street, so it’s a tradition. People paint over people’s messages all the time,” McNealy said.
In the television interview, McNealy claims that social and political speech is absolutely protected. “If you hurt someone’s feelings, if they’re offended by it, if they don’t like it… that’s actually the speech we want to protect the most because we want people to express themselves freely.”