CONCORD, N.H. —First there was a Bigfoot sighting. Now, there's a Bigfoot suing.
A performance artist and amateur filmmaker who dressed as the mythical beast says New Hampshire park rangers didn't have the right to kick him off a mountain where he had been scaring, or at least amusing, hikers while friends videotaped his antics.
Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Jonathan Doyle is suing the state, arguing that the requirement to pay $100 for a special-use permit 30 days in advance and get a $2 million insurance bond violates his free-speech rights.
"The underlying activities are humorous, but the principle's important," said Jon Meyer, a lawyer representing Doyle. "We're talking about a very small-scale activity in a very large place. We don't believe there's any legitimate government role in regulation."
Doyle's attorneys say no one complained to the state park service after Doyle first dressed as Bigfoot, ran around the rocky top of Mount Monadnock, returned to human form and interviewed bystanders about what they saw Sept. 6, 2009.
"People loved it. It was socially engaging," Doyle, 30, said Tuesday. "When I showed up at the top of the mountain dressed as Bigfoot and beating my chest, everyone just laughed and hoorayed."
Hikers describing their encounters in a video Doyle posted on YouTube seemed happy to get in on the fun.
Doyle said he thinks officials found his Bigfoot stunt tacky for a mountain revered by literary giants Henry Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson.