New Zealand Organization Praises Censor's Ban On CRADLE OF FILTH T-Shirt

July 1, 2008

John Mills, President of the New Zealand-based organization that calls itself "Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc." (SPCS),has hailed as "bold, morally courageous and legally sound" the classification decision issued to him by the New Zealand Chief Censor's Office that permanently bans a CRADLE OF FILTH T-shirt he argued was "grossly objectionable due to its obscene content" and "completely vilifies the central figure of Christianity." The Censor's Office apparently agreed with Mills, an elder at the Kapiti Christian Centre, that the T-shirt, worn and flaunted in a large public gathering on the Kapiti Coast and a part-image of which was published in the Kapiti Observer newspaper, should be classified "objectionable."

The censor "noted its sexually degrading image of a traditional Roman Catholic nun, and its grossly obscene and blasphemous language" directed at "the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is worshipped, adored, praised and revered as the central Person of Christianity," according to a press release issued by the SPCS. "The use of vile Satanic imagery emblazoned on the T-shirt, including depictions of dripping blood, linked to the heavy metal band CRADLE OF FILTH and lewd and inflammatory content directed at Christians, was also noted by the censors."

In the classification decision (No. 800513) on the apparel entitled "Vestal Masturbation (Cradle of Filth)" dated June 26, 2008, signed by Ms Nicola McCully, the Deputy Chief Censor, it states:

"The injury to the public good that is likely to be caused by the availability of this T-shirt originates from the manner in which it associates an aggressive and misogynistic meaning of the 'harsh, brutal and generally unacceptable' word cunt with Jesus Christ, and depicts an image of a chaste woman engaging in sexual activity. A fair interpretation of the messages conveyed by this T-shirt is that Christians should be vilified for their religious beliefs, and that women, including chaste and celibate women, cannot stop themselves engaging in sexual activity…" (OFLC No. 800513)

John Mills points out that the Society itself was founded by a nun — the late Patricia Bartlett (d. 2000) — who regularly had to put up with anti-Christian vitriol from the Society's detractors who promoted sexually offensive and degrading images of women (hardcore pornography) that regularly represent them an inherently inferior.

Mills says, "I am shocked that censors, in particular female censors like McCully, can allow truckloads of hardcore porn to be classified for adult home entertainment use in New Zealand, 'for sexual titillation purposes,' when they all know that research shows that such images, repeatedly viewed, fuel a misogynistic and sexually depraved mindset that produces the bad fruits of rape, incest, pedophilia and a host of other morally depraved vices."

According to the Australian Herald Sun newspaper, a Gold Coast teenager was charged late last month by police for wearing the above-mentioned CRADLE OF FILTH t-shirt. The teen was charged with offensive behavior under the Summary Offences Act 2005 for public nuisance.

Metro newspaper reported in October 2005 that a British teenage heavy metal fan was handed a community service order for wearing the same shirt.

Adam Shepherd, who was 19 at the time, was reportedly convicted under the then-new anti-hate laws which ban people from displaying religiously insulting signs.

The teenager was arrested after a woman complained to police when she saw his shirt, which shows a picture of a nun in a pornographic pose. The top was being worn by Shepherd's girlfriend when a police officer approached her. As soon as the teenager realized there was a problem, he told the officer it was his and swapped tops with his girlfriend. But he refused to take it off or cover it up and was arrested.

Shepherd, who bought the shirt in his hometown of Weymouth, Dorset, admitted the charge. Weymouth magistrates gave him 80 hours community service and told him to pay £40 costs (approx. $71 at the time).

According to, the wearing of this T-shirt had led to at least two previous convictions in the UK.

Dale Wilson, 35, of Norwich, was arrested by two police officers as he walked to the newsagents on Halloween 2004. He pleaded guilty to "religiously aggravated offensive conduct." He was eventually discharged and told to "grow up." He paid £150 costs (approx. $266),and the judge ordered that the T-shirt be destroyed.

Back in 1997, Rob Kenyon, 29, of London was found guilty of committing the offense of "Profane Representation under the 1839 Act" by Bow Street Magistrates Court. He was fined £150.

CRADLE OF FILTH drummer Nicholas Barker was also arrested in Dover and charged with "creating a public disorder" for wearing the same t-shirt. There were no further proceedings against him.

From the NME: In 2001, the then-Lord Provost of Glasgow, Alex Mosson, campaigned to have the t-shirt prevented from being sold at Tower Records. The record shop was raided on two occasions by police, and eventually agreed to stop stocking the garment. The Catholic League of America, back in 1998 (amusing "Victory for Sickos" story) and 1999 (their call to action),also complained bitterly about the t-shirt.

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