Man Who Erected 7ft Wooden Penis On His Lawn Is Fighting To Keep It Up After Being Arrested
A man who erected a giant wooden penis on his lawn is fighting to keep it up, arguing it's 'just a giant piece of wood'.
Carpenter Jamie Gagné said it was his wife's idea to carve a 7ft-tall phallus with a chainsaw before putting it up on their front lawn in Wilton, New York.
It was designed to function as a protest to the bureaucratic red tape that was stopping him obtaining a permit to complete a workshop outside the home.
Speaking to CBC, Montreal-born Gagné said he was getting 'frustrated' by being ignored, and wanted to draw officials' attention to his plight and 'kind of brute force a conversation'.
However, the 32-year-old ended up being arrested on a charge of displaying offensive sexual material, pleading not guilty in court on Tuesday (22 September).
New York State Police said Gagné's arrest came after he was issued a warning to remove the statue from public view.
He had first placed the penis - which has been carved out of a pine tree - in his front yard, saying people passing by laughed.
State troopers then showed up and told him to take it down, saying they'd received a complaint.
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While Gagné complied at first, moving the statue to his back yard, he later returned it to its spot out front - adding a sign that had 'Adults Only' spray painted on it.
Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said: "This is trying to protect the issue of potential exploitation in a sexual manner, particularly as it relates to protecting children."
Now Gagné is fighting to have the charges dismissed, telling WNYT he doesn't believe the statue applies.
"It's just a giant piece of wood," he said.
"You think about going to a park and there's a statue of a little boy peeing or there's a marble statue of a bare-breasted woman."
Saying he plans to fight the charge, Gagné added: "This is a clear First Amendment right. One person is offended versus dozens of people that were complimenting me."
He has also set up a GoFundMe campaign in defence of his 'yard art'.
His attorney, Bill White, said his client intends to come into 'complete compliance' with the Town of Wilton, but said he hadn't had the opportunity to review the criminal charges against him.
Wilton Supervisor John Lant said he's happy to have the statue down, adding thathe didn't think it was a 'good way to express anger'.
Featured Image Credit: NBC