Supreme Court acquits mooning theater director

Saturday, August 21st 2004, 9:59 am
By: News On 6

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) _ The Supreme Court has quashed charges of obscene exposure levied last year against avant-garde theater director Gerald Thomas, who mooned an audience after an opera performance.

After an August 2003 performance of ``Tristan and Isolde'' at Rio de Janeiro's municipal theater, Thomas shocked audience members and much of the cast by pulling down his pants and displaying his buttocks in response to jeers at the curtain call.

The Supreme Court said it shelved the charges Tuesday night after deciding that Thomas' gesture ``may have been rude and in bad taste'' but not obscene.

The gesture was an ``exercise in freedom of expression,'' the court said in a statement on its Web site.

The Supreme Court's decision freed Thomas of a possible jail term of up to a year.