Photo by Jefferson Siegel
Holly Van Voast put up her “breast defense” in court.
BY JEFFERSON SIEGEL | Holly Van Voast walked out of Manhattan Criminal Court a free woman last Wed., Feb. 13, then celebrated by baring her bosom.
Van Voast, 46, a performance artist and activist for the right of women to go topless in public, appeared in court to respond to the last three of several charges against her. The most serious of the charges involved Van Voast’s arrest for disorderly conduct, trespassing and pot possession when she doffed her top in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in January 2012.
The other two arrests included her topless appearances on subways.
The dismissal of all charges “covers all of Ms. Van Voast’s outstanding busts,” her lawyer, Ron Kuby, told reporters outside the courtroom, his tongue firmly in cheek.
For her part, Van Voast, also known for her painted-on black mustache, kept a black jacket on while appearing before Judge Ann Scherzer because Van Voast claimed, “I’m not an exhibitionist.” However, once outside the building, she immediately doffed her top, to the delight of several onlookers who whipped out cell phone cameras.
News stories posted within hours after her appearance elicited dozens of comments, including several from Van Voast herself. Referring to her documentary, “Topless Shock Syndrome,” she opined, “…how weird other people get about breasts and a drawn on mustache!”
Van Voast was frequently seen down at Zuccotti Park during the Occupy Wall Street encampment, as well as at O.W.S. events.
For 20 years, women have had the same right as men to go topless in public in New York.