Stan Murmur: Butt Artist

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Filed under: First Amendment Issues

Va. Teacher Fired for Buttocks Art Sues
by Bob Lewis
October 4, 2007

Sunflower, by Stan MurmurRichmond, Va. (AP) — A high school art teacher fired after officials learned he moonlighted by creating paintings using his bare buttocks and other body parts sued his former employers on Thursday.

Stephen [Stan] Murmer was fired in January after Chesterfield County Public Schools officials saw a YouTube video of Murmer wearing a swim thong and a Groucho Marx mask, demonstrating how he applies paint to his backside, then presses it onto a canvas.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Richmond by the American Civil Liberties Union, said Murmer’s firing violates his First Amendment rights. It also alleges that after he was suspended from teaching in December, school officials ordered him not to discuss his suspension even as they commented on it in news interviews.

The complaint seeks unspecified damages and legal fees from the county school board, a school district personnel official and the principal at Monacan High School, where he taught.

School officials had not seen the lawsuit early Thursday afternoon and do not comment on litigation, said spokeswoman Debra Marlow.

Murmer said in a telephone interview from Alabama, where he now lives, that the school district deprived him not only of his right to free expression but his rights to due process.

“This lawsuit is about a corrupt little county in Virginia and making sure they can’t do this to anyone else ever again,” he said.

Murmer paints under the pseudonym Stan Murmur, and displays some of his work on his Web site,

One acrylic-on-canvas work titled “Tulip Butts” shows the red imprint of a backside representing the open petals of a tulip with an imprint between them from an adjacent body part that represents a flower’s stamen.

The lawsuit said Murmer’s paintings sell in a range from $600 to $4,800, and that he uses his own body parts and those of models to “brush” or “stamp” images onto canvas. Read the rest of the story here.