Topless Activist Wins $40,000 Settlement From City for Boob Freedom

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Topless nudity activist Holly Van Voast poses during the annual Columbus Day Parade on October 8, 2012 in New York City. The Italian-American parade was launched in 1929 and is billed as the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American heritage featuring more than 35,000 participants.
The SFW version. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

We repeat, once again: Breasts are not a crime. Holly Van Voast, the “topless paparazzo” and free-boob-awareness activist, has finalized a $40,000 settlement for all of the times she was arrested for not wearing a shirt in public over the years, despite her actions being perfectly legal. “The lawsuit covers 10 incidents,” she told the Village Voice. “But that doesn't count the many, many times I talked myself out of handcuffs. That happened so much.” Ah, sweet vindication.

In her battle with prude police, Van Voast was often sent for psychological evaluation — and once held for six days — with officers believing she was “not of sound mind and body.” In court once, to prove her dedication to the cause, Van Voast stripped down (in front of her 89-year-old attorney). She accepted the NYPD’s settlement, she said, because, “All of us agreed I would really not do very well with a judge or a jury.”

Van Voast has since moved to Kentucky, where she’s working on her book, Topless Zodiac.