Naked Portlandian man protests TSA screening injustice through nakedness

A bearded gentleman in Portland, Oregon who was upset about being "harassed by airport security" took off all of his clothes while in the TSA screening lane Tuesday evening. He was arrested, taken to jail, and held on $4,000 bail.

According to Portland police, John E. Brennan took off his clothes while going through airport screening at Portland International Airport just after 5:30 p.m. and stood naked before other passengers, including children. Two screening lanes were closed as a result. Some passengers covered their eyes as well as their children's and retreated from the sight. But others laughed and began snapping photos.

(...) Said Brennan's father, also John Brennan, when reached by KATU News Tuesday night: "This is quite a shock. He hasn't been under any stress that I know of. He's never really under any stress. He works for a computer company in California. He does something with the Internet, which is just kind of mystical to me. This is quite a surprise."

Interviewed today by a Portland TV news program, Mr. Brennan (who has participated in Portland's Naked Bike Rides before) says he felt it was "the right thing to do." He is a frequent flyer who must travel often for his job (in San Jose, CA, I gather?), and he is tired of the TSA's junk-touching ways.

Oh, laugh all you want. And, sure, it's been done before. But this dude is my hero.

Photo: Brian Reilly, via KOMO News


  1. Oh, I know that concourse well.

    This was of course the top story on the local news this morning.

    Reactions were split between “I don’t want my children seeing a naked fat man” and “way to go!”

  2. “I believe in miracles…”

    Think of “The Full Monty.” The dole queue scene. Imagine all those (clothed) hips bumping in line.

    1. Years in San Francisco have shown me that there is an inverse relationship between penis size and likelihood of appearing naked in public.

      1.  I dunno’. It might result in a flight ban which would obviously be bad for his job but IIRC we don’t have any nudity prohibiting laws here, just sex acts in public (including, to my amazement, it being REALLY illegal to goof around with a flogger in a sex-shop).

        Plus PDX is kind of like the extreme Right-Wing without the homophobia, misogyny, and racism when it comes to being anti micromanagement of policing agencies like the TSA. If he gets a jury he will probably be only slightly fucked.

      2. Caveat: I am not involved in this case in any way, so I can’t say for certain how it will all break down.

        When I saw it on the local news today he was arraigned in JC4, which is the community court. JC4 is generally where they send misdemeanors they’re going reduce to violations. Chances are he was offered some community service to wipe the whole thing off the books.

        But it sounds like he’s looking to fight it. He won’t get the PD if they’ve reduced it to a violation (can’t have jail time on a violation so no PD). If they didn’t reduce it and he went to court with it, solid odds for him in front of a Portland jury.

        Oh and ease off the PDs Xeni, they do the best they can with the ridiculously limited resources they’re given.

        1. Yeah, I’m gonna second that.   Every great criminal attorney I know has spent at least a few years at a PD or DA office.  When attorneys in private practice like myself need to consult with a criminal law expert, we invariably turn to PDs and DAs.  

          Dude’s gonna be fine.    

    1. Hey, I’d kick in twenty.

      Althought, it might be better to set up a Kickstarter for him and all of the copycats who will righteously follow in his sweaty footprints.

  3. Getting upset at his nudity is like getting upset over a cake. There are definitely bigger gorillas in the room. 

  4. I agree,  public defender is probably gonna equal :(. Sad considering this man had the courage to make a statement many of wish we could. 

  5. I’m watching a follow-up story right now, in which Brennan returned to the  airport to get his bags and defend himself before reporters. He comes across as arch-nerdy, but not crazy.

    The only current charge is misdemeanor indecent exposure.

    1. This is interesting.  The disorderly conduct charge was really the only prosecutable one as being naked (indecent exposure) is perfectly legal in Portland as long as there is no intent to titillate.  And I think we can all agree that there is not a lot titillating happening here.

  6. “I hadn’t been expecting someone so articulate.”

    Typically these protesters just babble about rights and then throw feces.  Good call back in the studio,  Steve-o.

  7. If this becomes an everyday occurrence, then things will change. I have no idea how, but they’ll change. 

  8. Some passengers covered their eyes as well as their children’s and retreated from the sight.

    Idiots. That would be an excellent oppotunity to convince the kids that actually, I am in pretty good shape.

  9. “I didn’t expect to see someone so articulate”? Really? 

    That’s funny because the minute I heard about this I immediately assumed it wasn’t a drunkard or insane person but rather someone who is fed up the the TSA porn scans. 

    Good for him. 

  10. Naked is a little over the top, just say ‘NO’, loudly and clearly. ‘NO’ you many not touch my genitals, ‘NO’ you can not irradiate me, ‘NO’ you can not take pornographic picture of me.
    Repeat everyday and demand a refund when you are not allowed to fly.

    1.  No, naked is in no way over the top.  ASFIC nudity shouldn’t be a crime. But I agree with everything else you say.

  11. Civil disobedience at its finest. I feel cowardly and wish I had the kind of courage and money and time to do just that.

  12. And why exactly is his bottom censored? I doubt if you’d see any of his private bits if it wasn’t.

    Or are bare buttocks considered obscene in Oregon?

  13. I suspect that if it happened here in the UK he would probably end up on the sex offenders’ register.

    (Based on nothing but a gut feeling. Happy to be proved wrong.)

  14. And the sad thing is that he will probably have to register as a sex offender so they can harrase him for the rest of his life.

  15. Somebody think of the children!

    Clearly this fella wasn’t aware that the TSA is allowed to see you naked, but not the passengers, nooooo.  Nakedness is offensive.

    1. Hmm, I don’t know. If he said “I’m thinking about children” that might not help his case.

  16. So isn’t this no fly list thing pretty easy to get on and nearly impossible to get off? I’m not liking his chances at flying next time.

  17. Hats off to you, Sir!

    Actually, it would have been lightly more awesome had he been wearing a hat. A classy hat or one of those soft safari things professors seem to like…

    1.  I didn’t get the reference, so I was thinking you meant a TSA emblem featuring an eagle, which would also be nice. Perhaps not as artistic though.

  18. I wonder what would happen if a large number of people coordinated to do this en masse. Perhaps people who attend a big convention so there’s a large number of them all leaving from the same airport during the same time period.

    How would the TSA handle a naked flashmob that just kept coming in wave after wave?

    I imagine it would be the greatest performance ever seen in the history of security theatre.

  19. Good for him, each time I fly I get the urge to act out when I go through all the pointless BS.  I’m too chicken, I only fly twice a year to visit family.

  20. I love the difference between the comments here and the comments on Gizmodo, where I first saw this.

    And, hey, a naturist airline would be about as safe as you can fly, right?

  21. Last time I went through TSA screening, my sole nod to civil disobedience was the Beavis giggle when they had me put my arms up for the pornoscanner.  At least I got a grin out of one of the more alert TSA screeners.  Kudos to this gent for doing what many people only wished they had the huge titanium balls to do!

  22. Yay, naked guy!! I totally agree with him. The level of security theater at the airport is absurd in the extreme. He just went mirrored their absurdity. 

    I hope that he doesn’t end up on a no-fly list!! If he does, then that may give us all a new point to push on that particular injustice in this country. There are so many people on that list who shouldn’t be, it’s kind of amazing to me that the whole country hasn’t risen up in anger over it yet.

  23. If the other really serious injustices in this country resulted in the inconvenience of  traveling upper/middle class whites, we’d have a nudity revolution…..

  24. “He does something with the Internet, which is just kind of mystical to me” – best quote from article not having to do with TSA idiocy 

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