The City May Be Powerless to Stop Trojan's Vibrator Giveaway

Mayor Tom Menino is reportedly not very happy with prophylactic-maker Trojan’s plan to give away free vibrators on City Hall Plaza, and has requested that they reconsider the move. “City Hall Plaza provides access to City Hall for constituents from all walks of life including many families and children … I request that you find an alternative site for your product distribution,” the mayor’s chief of public property, Michael Galvin, wrote Wednesday.

The Herald isn’t so sure the Mayor even has the power to defend our city’s Puritan roots. Witness the artful use of scare quotes (and by artful, we mean “unnecessary” and “bizarre”) in the paper’s report:

Legally, the city may have no leg to stand on as officials acknowledged the “public nature” of the plaza provides constitutional
“protection” for the company to distribute the pulsing plastic wands. But the mayor — who took on Chick-fil-A this summer over its president’s anti-gay-marriage statements — does not want free sex toys doled out on the plaza, which frequently hosts more wholesome events, such as circuses and food festivals.

We’re pretty sure it just provides constitutional protection, not constitutional “protection,” but maybe the Herald was going after a sexy pun there. (Lord knows they took this opportunity to make as many “pull the plug” and “buzzkill” jokes as possible.)

Anyway, maybe Menino will get lucky. Trojan tried the same promotion in New York last month but demand was so high on that sinful cesspool of an island, that it had to be shut down for crowd issues. (“Bloomberg doesn’t want anyone to have fun. You can’t have a giant soda. You can’t have a vibrator,” one thwarted customer told the New York Post.) Now Menino can just hope that the citizens of Boston are so cheap and adventurous that the crowds overwhelm and he can shut it down.

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  • http://www.feministlawprof.wordpress.com FeministLawProf

    Uh oh, Mumbles might be in trouble. There’s actually some question as to whether there’s a constitutional right to vibrators – check out Williams v. Pryor and the cases that came after it.