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One Band's Free Speech Odyssey with Simon Tam

Monday, March 5, 2018

Room 1001, King Hall
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Simon Tam, an Asian American musician, author and activist, is the founder of the all-Asian American dance-rock band, “The Slants”. He publicly fought the United States Patent and Trademark Office in a Supreme Court case to trademark his group’s name. The Supreme Court sided with “The Slants” stating “The disparagement clause violates the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause. Contrary to the Government’s contention, trademarks are private, not governmental speech.” His fight earned him the support from organizations such as the Asian American Legal Defense Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Tam spent nearly a decade fighting a law which he described had disproportionately targeted marginalized groups based on their identity and denied them rights based on race, sexual orientation, gender, and political views. His long battle to reclaim the racial slur has been his instrument to advance justice through intellectual property.

Tam has been featured in: The New York Times, NPR, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Rolling Stone, Washington Post, CNN, and more.

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For more information, please contact Delayna Fitzgerald at