President of the St. Lucia Media Workers Association Clinton Reynolds has lent his voice to an ongoing debate surrounding a front-page photo posted in the July 26 edition of the Star Newspaper.
The photo showed a woman in carnival costume with her breasts exposed.
Speaking to St. Lucia News Online (SNO) today, Reynolds said that while many may have been expressing disgust over the picture, the bottom line is that the publication was not illegal.
Reynolds said that since the issue became known, the media association has held discussions on the matter and has even spoken to editor of the paper Rick Wayne who gave his rationale for posting the image.
According to Wayne while speaking to SNO, the photo was published in his protest against the popular carnival soca tune “Hurt It”.
“He explained his rationale for it…whereas I would not necessarily agree with a decision to publish such a photo…my personal view is that I would not publish a picture like this, however, I have to respect the individuality, and I have to respect the judgment of the Star for publishing it,” Reynolds told SNO.
“There are certain things that might be uncomfortable to us and might be distasteful …and might be crude and even unethical but at the end of the day it is not illegal, and with the publication of this photo, I do not think that it is illegal,” he added.
As to whether he believes the photo may carry a pornographic element, Reynolds said that he does not believe so.
“For something to be pornographic, it has to… go into something that is sexual. I do not think that the intention of the Star and the public was to sexualise this individual. However, I thought what the intent was in depicting that photograph was to show what our cultural expression has evolved to,” he said.
Reynolds further stated, “Even though I am uncomfortable with something or even though we find something distasteful that doesn’t mean that one is precluded from publishing it because it offends the natural emotions of many people in the society.”
With regard to the argument that the woman’s rights were violated, Reynolds said that this is not the case as she was in a public place participating in an open event at the time.
“That is another thing people do not understand. She is in a public place jumping up in a band which is open to the public. She is in full view of every member of the public who cares to go down to watch carnival, and that means a photographer as well…” he said.
“If her ‘boobs’ bouncing up and down in their face was open up to the public while she was on the road, gallivanting and engaging in the activity, then there is nothing precluding them from photographing her and from publishing it. It is her responsibility and that is the problem I have. Many people have not spoken about the responsibility of the young lady to carry herself appropriately and to ensure that even though she is going through carnival [and] that this is the costume of her band that her goods are [kept] in place and they’re not out of place where they are exposed to every Tom, Dick and Harry to have a feasting…” he said.