The Jiffy Lube Incident

From Larry Harvey’s viewpoint on the incident:

I’ve been asked to comment on the Jiffy Lube incident that occurred at Burning Man this year. For a useful overview, I recommend the article titled Burning Ban in the Reno News and Review by Deidre Pike.

As everyone knows by now, this year Jiffy Lube chose to erect a 12-foot tall sign in front of their camp portraying two men engaged in anal intercourse.

According to Ms Pike, “Police had driven by once or twice, taking pictures of the art. Then, on Thursday, Aug. 30, a deputy from the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office asked camp residents to take the sign down, possibly because of complaints from members of the nearby family camp”. She goes on to say that “Law enforcement officials said it was a violation of prevailing community standards”.

Members of the camp refused to remove the sign. The following day members of the Black Rock Rangers attempted to mediate the dispute. In the course of a discussion with camp organizers they suggested — rather than ordered — that the sign be removed from the public thoroughfare. The Jiffy Lube crew again refused, and the Rangers then arranged a Saturday morning meeting between Jiffy Lube organizers, the county police and BLM officials.

Here a compromise was hammered out. According to Ms Pike, it was agreed by all that camp members would remove the sign from the roadway. In exchange they would be allowed to “have a parade and demonstration in City Center – as long as the demonstration took place in the heat at high noon.

Fliers were printed. And the police allowed the art to be driven through the streets on a pre-planned route, as long as Rangers went ahead of the art warning parents that an offensive exhibit was coming through. By the time the art reached the center of Black Rock City, a crowd of 300 to 350 protesters had gathered. After the parading of the structure through town, the art was taken back to Jiffy Lube, put on a trailer and driven to Harvey’s Camp.