Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Topless Activist Leaving Ojai

Citing police harassment, Jennifer Moss is returning to Oregon

By Daryl Kelley
Jennifer Moss, who for the past year has delighted or offended Ojai residents by biking or skating through town wearing only a G-string and flesh-colored pasties, has decided to move to Oregon, citing what she considers harassment by police and some local residents.
Moss, 32, who prefers to be known as “Earth Friend Jen” but has also been dubbed “The Pastie Lady,” was in Ashland, Ore., on Monday, renting an apartment and studio where she said she hopes to teach yoga and design a stuffed animal and organic clothing line.
She’ll move back to her native state May 5, after celebrating a friend’s birthday, she said in a telephone interview.
“I’m done with Ojai and Southern California,” said the petite and fit rollerblader, who describes herself as a social artist and environmental activist, but who some critics describe as narcissistic and disrespectful of others.
“Obviously, there’s a lot I don’t like about Ojai.” she said. “There’s a lot of nice people there, but Ojai is just another suburb of Los Angeles. I’m ready to get out of there. It’s a police state.”
In recent months, Moss has been a locus of community controversy, testing both Ojai’s renowned embrace of free spirits and the legal system’s response to those who push society’s norms and its constitutional guarantees of public expression.
She’s twice been cited by police under a county law that prohibits exposing one’s breasts as a means of artistic expression. Most recently she disrobed in the parking lot of St. Thomas Aquinas Church on Easter Sunday, prompting angry calls of complaint.
But, even as Moss prepares to leave Ojai, a town she’d hoped would be open to her iconoclastic lifestyle and near-nudity, Police Chief Bruce Norris said he has now been told by county prosecutors that the young woman violated no laws.
“We went by the letter of the law,” he said this week. “But the district attorney doesn’t believe they could get this past a jury. To me her behavior was so outlandish at the church I hoped the public nuisance (law) would cover it. The videotape (she made) showed it from start to finish.
“But,” Norris added, “the prosecutors just don’t believe it was illegal.”
Norris said his officers acted appropriately when responding to citizen complaints about Moss’ frequent near-nude appearances around town. But he said the law apparently no longer prohibits women’s exposure of their breasts in public, or in Moss’ case, the apparent exposure of breasts.
“I like Jennifer,” the chief said. “I think she was a good addition to Ojai for her free expression. But I didn’t like her flaunting her nudity. That’s not fair to the people who don’t want to see it.”
Letters and e-mails to the Ojai Valley News in recent months showed Moss had plenty of critics, and supporters.
But the intensity of public discussion — even protests to the City Council — since her Easter demonstration persuaded Moss it was time to seek another haven.
And she said she has no regrets, even about her Easter demonstration at a church, except that the public’s response was so vociferous.
“The only reason that was a mistake, is it’s creating a backlash,” she said. “I came there in the name of Jesus. Christ would know my heart, and you’re not supposed to judge me. I came there because I am the light ... This country is not free until it’s free in it’s own skin. I think it’s funny: They’re judging me while their clothes are poisoning them.”
Moss maintained that her demonstrations shined a spotlight on a more environmentally sensitive way to live. Her G-string is made of hemp. And her internet web site explains her green philosophy.
“I’m not doing this to show off,” she said. “If I wanted to be popular, I’d get a boob job, bleach my hair blond and be on the cover of Playboy. This dude wrote a story about me saying I was a narcissist. Give me a break, this whole world is narcissistic.”
The “dude” Moss referenced is filmmaker Leland Hammerschmitt of Ojai, who wrote in a guest editorial in the OVN that the skater showed “naked narcissism.” “Ojai tolerance is not eternal ... ,” he wrote. “Go away. Just stop.”
On Tuesday, reacting to Moss’ pending departure, Hammerschmitt added: “There are standards for behavior and Jennifer Moss was an acid on basic public decorum. Her aggressive attack on the Catholic Church on Easter Sunday was indefensible. I suspect that her timely move to Oregon is connected to her arrest and perhaps a simple evasion of possible prosecution.”
But Moss also had her supporters, sometimes from surprising places.
One 11-year-old Oak View girl, who first thought Moss was crazy, said she was inspired by the woman’s letter to the OVN, explaining that she dresses as she does to bring attention to environmental causes.
“So next time you see Jen, don’t stop and gawk,” wrote Callie Little. “Silently stop and thank the Earth for making someone like Jen, who is doing what she can to help an environmental problem.”
But Moss now says she’s given up on Ojai and Southern California as an area to practice her green beliefs.
“The Matilija Springs is one of the most beautiful places I go, and it’s being poisoned,” she said, referring to spraying now being done to eradicate a non-native reed. “Ojai is not the green scene. I’m out of here. Leland Hammerschmitt can have his peace.”
Moss, who grew up in a small town in Oregon and fled to Southern California for its freedom of expression, said she’s returning to her native state because of its green consciousness, and because Ashland has no nudity laws.
She says she wants to find an eco-sensitive co-op she can join. And she says she hopes to earn money making things.
“I’m going to start making my own organic clothing line,” she laughed. “That’s ironic, right?”
Will she continue her nearly bare flights on skates and bike down Ashland’s main street?
She’s of two minds on that.
One minute she says, “I’m going to get grounded, get a job and slowly move into this new place. I’m not going to do what I did in Ojai.”
But the next she’s saying she might skate through downtown Ashland completely naked next month on her birthday: “I may come out butt naked. I’ll come out in my birthday suit.”

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

“The only reason that was a mistake, is it’s creating a backlash,”

Speaks for itself. Proof that she is not crazy, just inconsiderate.

Anonymous said...

This woman just tries to push the envelope everytime she does something and finds little sneaky ways to get out trouble with the law by bending the rules to her liking. She is an attention whore, and that's basically it. Who the hell would go outside an Easter Sunday service and take there clothes off? Maybe a druken, absent minded local transient, and she's right around that level of mentality and stupidity, and utter disrespect. If she loved the Earth so much, she should pack up and head for the mountains far away from any humans that could motivate her to define herself and express herself for attention. She should go live with the Manzanita, and Chapparal bushes in the backcountry and run naked with the bears and bobcats, with no one to watch her anymore. They might accept her in their pack, and on the other hand, they could care less about her cause, and just eat her. Have fun in Oregon psycho.

BTW, her body is NOT that great at all. LOL Why do people have to keep mentioning it.

Anonymous said...

Ojai was done with her first.

Anonymous said...

I think she is great. Get over yourselves people. This is Ojai is it not. I am sorry she is leaving. And feels unwelcome.

Anonymous said...

First of all, Ojai's atmosphere has always supported freedom of expression, very excepting of anyone's beliefs. BUT one of the main reasons we have had such a peaceful community with so many vastly different beliefs is most everyone is MELLOW about their expression. Her actions in front of the church on Easter were NOT mellow. It was very "MY freedom trumps YOUR freedom!" If she were considerate she would have started toning things down some as soon as she started getting complaints (well before the Easter incident). In fact, this would have been best for her "cause."

Secondly, freedom of expression must ALWAYS have limitations. We can not just do anything we want because we are trying to express ourselves. Ms. Moss has simply pushed her "right to express" too far.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance to her.

Anonymous said...

This picture is the first time I have ever seen her with clothes.

She's a failure. Did one person rethink hemp because of her shrieking exhibitionism? Did she persuade anyone? Well, at least she has an article in the LA Times and a couple of 'arrests' so she can tell a few stories when she gets back to Oregon.

Anonymous said...

As you can see only the bible thumpers are upset. get over it. I hate to spoil it but we all have naked bodies.

Anonymous said...

If you believe that you have the right to badger me and irritate me, so be it. But remember this: I have the same right of free expression that you do, and you don't get to tell me how I can or cannot react.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe she never caused a traffic accident.

Anonymous said...

The text of this OVNEWS "piece" reads Activist to leave Ojai, seen "behind." So this really is at the "bottom" of local priorities, as evidenced by her making no ands ifs or butts about her experiences here. Was she really worth getting it in an uproar? PL

Anonymous said...

Funny, her comrades at the Post are quiet on this subject. I'm amused to see she's moving up there to become a capitalist.

Anonymous said...

"If you believe that you have the right to badger me and irritate me, so be it." LOL It's not badgering, it's the truth, stop twisting people's words around. You are badgering the poor people who get to see your below average body, and irritating people with your pushy-ness and self centered "I'm right and you can't change that" sort of mentality. As far as every author in the OjaiPost who supports you, they all came out of the same crazy cess pool you did, so crawl on back in.

Anonymous said...

so crawl on back in.

Or else what?

Anonymous said...

The only news here is..
she is not news.

Anonymous said...

Sad to see her go. Everytime I saw her, my attention was distracted from my world and focused on my world with Jen in it.

She brought joy to thousands of men and some women; she is opinionated, and comically famous.

She caused all of you haters to ask yourselves, "Why?", and as I see it, it's probably among the rare times you've done so in your adult lives.

Is it better to see the religious floating their floats on Independence Day down Ojai Ave, an assault on huge swaths of Ojai residents, or this waif with her hard body zipping by promoting simplicity and man-in-and-versus nature?

They're both shocking. Only the waif did no harm.

Shame on you ditties who bring your Pasadena values to Ojai. Go back to your root communities, like Jen, to reinforce your puerile, unreflective values, and leave the majority to our own choices.
Gaudia

Puerile at Heart said...

Pasadena values? Now wait a damn second!!!

Anonymous said...

Yes I will agree that her ways are outlandish, but if she got one or two people to support her cause shes got to be doing something right. I will completely agree that what she did at the church was completely wrong, because it is a place of worship for all ages that should be left in peace.

Anonymous said...

Yawn. I've had conversations with this girl (while clothed) Frankly, she's just a bore.

Anonymous said...

Just remember who, tongue planted firmly in cheek, dubbed her "Earth Friend Jen": the late, great Jeffrey W. San Marchi, after Voice photographer (now Voice publisher) Rockin' Ray spotted her at the "Y," took the first photograph of her, and scooped the first local interview her.

Watch for the new Ojai and Ventura Voice, hitting the streets next week, which, never to jump on a late arriving bandwagon, won't feature her on the cover.

By the way, why attack her as "druken," obviously posted by someone typing with one hand? Why comment on her body, unless the one-handed poster has examined her thoroughly? Can the one-handed poster spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e?

Signed, Not Thorny in Ojai

geriatric hippy said...

oh boy! rockin ray's back...did you know he took the VERY first (numero uno) photo of EFJ?

Anonymous said...

"First of all, Ojai's atmosphere has always supported freedom of expression, very excepting (sic) of anyone's beliefs. BUT one of the main reasons we have had such a peaceful community with so many vastly different beliefs is most everyone is MELLOW about their expression."

You're kidding, right? MELLOW?!! This blog is replete with "anonymous" hate. "Below average body." "Crawl back in" to a "crazy cess pool (sic)."

As much as I considered Ms. Moss to be a publicity-seeking spectacle, I am FAR more offended by the outright hatred toward her that has been "anonymously" expressed here.

News flash: Ms. Moss did not cloak herself in anonymity -- or anything else --in her chosen method of self-expression. She may be nuts; an exhibitionist; a sad little girl who simply craves attention; or all or none of the above. But at least she had the temerity to put herself on the line; in contrast, many of these posters seem cowardly. How distasteful.

CEJ, ESQ.

PS: Now, you can "anonymously" attack me for expressing my opinion here in "excepting" Ojai.

Anonymous said...

All we really know about you is you are a lawyer and a drama queen. Why is it that lawyers let you know they are lawyers within two minutes of meeting them?:-)

Clue in, and judge the comments on merit. Attribution has proven to be a problem, and the fact that you are a lawyer with tendencies to sue anybody you think you can get a dime doesn't encourage transparency.

(P.S. - Correcting spelling/grammar in a blog is like making a toilet bowl sparkle.)

Anonymous said...

Wow, that didn't take long. Thanks for "excepting" me and my point of view. I may or may not be a drama queen, but honey, I am no coward. You are. Thanks for proving my point.

CEJ,ESQ.

PS: Since when is it not "excepting" to want a clean toilet bowl? Are dirty toilet bowls an Ojai thing?

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmmm! I smell ostrich burgers!

Shangrilalife said...

Dear Not Thorny in Ojai, Surely you jest about a paper coming out. Which of the contributors from Jeff's paper are writing for Ray? Where and how is Ray going to distribute it?
Looks like Joel Anderson beat you to the punch. Is it time for CEJ and her flying monkey Ray Alpern to buy that dual-wide in Stockton yet?

morris shelking said...

"She may be nuts; an exhibitionist; a sad little girl who simply craves attention..."

Cath, this you in a "nut" shell!!

bunni cromunger said...

CEJ, ESQ
Have you ever thought including pasties and the hemp G-string in your courtroom presentation? I'm guessing it couldn't hurt.

Anonymous said...

Y'all got serious problems people. I was wrong about Ojai. My mom who lived here close to 30 yr. was also wrong. I don't know where all the good Ojai souls have gone...but I'm going with them. What an ugly backstabbing petty little town. Ojai, you're overrated. Pricey but empty, emotionally immature and spiritually bankrupt. C'ya. God, this sounds like a city council meeting.

Anonymous said...

The news here is not Earth Friend Jen leaving town. She made her point, and helped put Ojai once again in the national press for exactly the kinds of things that people traditionally have come to Ojai to see - something a little different, a little freer. She did us a favor, one we should thank her for, because God knows its pretty hard to look around Ojai today and conclude that we still deserve our reputation as a place that's a little more tolerant and a little different.

The news in this article is not what's leaving, but what is staying. Namely, what is up with Captain Bruce Norris? Now help me out here folks, but if the rule "three strikes and you're out" is good enough for baseball and those who violate laws, is it not also good enough for police captains?

According to this article, Captain Norris apparently arrested Earth Friend Jen twice for something, as he says, that "the DA felt he couldn't get past a jury." What was it? Exposing her breasts? By all accounts, she always wore pasties.

IMHO - which has been known to be corrected, so don't hold back on my education if I'm wrong - it doesn't take a DA, or even a lawyer, to know that pasties ain't a crime.

It looks doubly bad when the "exhibitionist" is so clearly expressing political views.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time plowing these infertile fields for our good Captain. Let's review.

Strike One: Captain Norris arrests Pete Lafollette for speaking up in a public meeting. DA does not pursue charges; no crime committed.

(Pete Lafollette thankfully dropped the matter and did not sue the city, to my knowledge at least.)

Strike Two: Captain Norris physically manhandles Cathy Elliott Jones for speaking out at a public meeting, drags her outside kicking and screaming, and arrests her. Charges not pursued; no crime committed.

(She sued for "$10 Million Dollars" if memory serves, and reportedly settled for $20,000. Did Capt. Norris pay that and the legal fees, or you and me?)

Strike Three: Captain Norris apparently twice arrests Earth Friend Jen (inferring from this report) for something related to expressing/"exposing" herself in public. Charges not pursued; no crime committed.

We've got a problem, Ojai.

If this continues, it is only a matter of time before the city gets hit with a real lawsuit, for many millions.

Captain Norris seems to be a good guy whose heart is in the right place. But he has got to exhibit some understanding of the fundamental rights that we as citizens have. Freedom of expression is one of the rights he is sworn to protect. Right?

Perhaps the City Council could send him to some sort of training in civil and first amendment rights, much as we send people who violate the traffic laws to traffic school for a refresher? That might at least help defend against the inevitable lawsuit that is coming if he continues this pattern.

Alternatively, the umpire just needs to call it. Three strikes. He's out.

Anonymous said...

Bruce Norris might not do a very good job of reading the DA's mind, but his A**hole Radar works just fine. He can spot 'em every single time.

Anonymous said...

OK as long as everyone is still
having fun with this novelty,my misunderstanding with city council and Norris was because they
seemed to think speaking out in public was a problem. It gets into
some touchy areas, excuse the pun,
of Earth Friend Jen allowed to exercise amendment rights, and
the official reaction, which may
be perceived as pretty patient
considering all the exposure
her antics garnished. Agreed that
it did bring some outside tourist
interest to town. However please
don't expect any May Day pagan
rituals from wandering virgins...

Anonymous said...

My husband saw jenifer going down the street on her bike some months ago and our 11 year old granddaugther said wow opa look at her,SHE IS NAKED.....and opa said WOW thats a cool way to get a great tan ....and they borh gigled,I think we will miss her,jenifer is wel of to move to europe ,there every body is topless in the summer and would love it too....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous says: "Bruce Norris might not do a very good job of reading the DA's mind, but his A**hole Radar works just fine. He can spot 'em every single time."

My A**hole radar works just fine too. But let me tell you, if being an a**hole was a crime, there's be a heck of alot of people in this town rotting in jail right now.

Personally, I'd like our police chief to focus on saving us from the criminals, not the a**holes. We can handle those without his help.

Anonymous said...

We can handle those without his help.

As evidenced by.....?

Anonymous said...

I never spoke with anyone who had a problem with "the pastie lady" expressing herself by riding her bike, roller blading, or even doing head stands at Cluff Vista Park, but there is a difference between being a free spirit, expressing who you are and forcing yourself on others. In my experience, Ojai is full of people who support the former, but who, understandably in my view, resent the latter. Her performance at the church was the equivalent of using a sledge hammer when a feather would have sufficed. Why are we all supposed to feel ashamed that we were not accepting enough of her ways, when, it would seem, she breezed into town with the intent of challenging us but not herself?? I applaud her desire to make a difference, but feel she is naive in thinking that she could possibly know what is right for me. It seemed that she wanted a free pass to do what she wanted, with no regard for the rights, feelings, or beliefs of others.

Anonymous said...

I think it's terrible that she's been driven out of town. Leland Hammerschmitt is an ass!

Anonymous said...

If you think you're going to miss her that much, follow her to Ashland.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy did I miss the boat on this. I thought the Rose that came out a couple of weeks ago was the reincarnated VOICE.

Anonymous said...

"...there is a difference between being a free spirit, expressing who you are and forcing yourself on others. In my experience, Ojai is full of people who support the former, but who, understandably in my view, resent the latter. Her performance at the church was the equivalent of using a sledge hammer when a feather would have sufficed."
Very well said. It is a good thing your later use of "accepting" was correct or CEJ, ESQ would have really reamed you!

"DA does not pursue charges; no crime committed."
Just b/c the DA does not prosecute does not mean the police should not intervene.

Some time ago we had a person try to forcibly enter our home. They were very drunk and enraged and thankfully the police intervened before this drunk was able to harm us. But because no physical harm had occurred yet, the DA did not follow up on the charges we pressed. BY YOUR "LOGIC" the police should have waited until the drunk forced their way in and harmed one of us before doing anything. That way the police could be certain that the DA would prosecute and their actions would be "justified." Do you see the problem here?

Stopping Jen's activities in front of the church on Easter seamed very appropriate even though the DA did not prosecute.

Anonymous said...

Leland Hammerschmitt just chased the Lorax out of Ojai. You old ONCELER!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:41:

Do you see no difference between police intervening with an enraged drunk trying to forcibly enter your home to do you physical harm, and Jen's social and political expression on the public square?

Please walk me through the logic that says the DA failing to prosecute one instance when police stopped a violent physical home invasion and potential attack means that police should be free to arrest people peacefully and lawfully expressing their views in a public forum, or in the public square?

Count me as one Ojaian not following your argument here.

Anonymous said...

Do you see no difference between police intervening with an enraged drunk trying to forcibly enter your home to do you physical harm, and Jen's social and political expression on the public square?

A message of love is never rammed down the throats of the beloved. Ever. (And, St. Thomas Aquinas is by no means "the public square."

In my opinion, Jen's insistence upon protesting semi-nude outside an Easter celebration is an expression of freedom in the same vein as the protests of Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church members who stand around at military funerals carrying signs that say things like "God Hates Fags." The only real difference I can see is the visible verbage; the amount of obnoxiousness and hostility involved, and the degree of contempt held by the respective protestors against the objects of their protest. Other than that, these two types of protest would seem to ultimately come from exactly the same place in the human soul, regardless of the alleged message(s) and the accompanying cheesy cover stories.

Both types of protest appear to involve complete insensitivity to the wishes and feelings of those against whom the protest is aimed; a belief that they have been given the right by some higher power to do what they do and say what they say; an inability or refusal to take their protests to the actual source of their anger and frustration, and a pathological, messianic, virulent, mean-spirited, and self-defeating form of narcissism.

James Hatch said...

How about some real news?

Anonymous said...

James Hatch said...

How about some real news?


OK then, James...

Why don't you and Earth Friend Jen both strip down, stand in front of Rains Department Store, and sing "I got you, Babe" to each other?

Anonymous said...

Lets not get off the track here and forget what she really is -a self
absorbed narcisist who's only object-
tive is to draw attention to her self
She don't care about others feelings
or beliefs. Please don't be fooled by
her apparent "cause". It is just a means for her to get attention for her self and she will use anyone to
get. I know her personally and she is
not what she seems. She is a user and
she cares about no one but herself.
She only did that little stunt at
the church because she wanted to
post it on the internet with the
rest of her raunchy videos.
I say good riddence Jen and don't
come back.

Anonymous said...

If a 32-year-old man had stood across from the junior high similarly clad (with or without the pasties) while twisting his sacred temple into various positions, he probably would have been arrested as a sex offender. This 32-year-old woman does it and she's celebrated as a political activist?
Pastily dressed along Ojai Avenue: Kind of weird.
Buffing it by the Libbey Park playground or in a church parking lot: Inappropriate.
Next to a school: Perverted.
All you randy old hippy dogs must truly be hard up for non-computer-generated flesh to buy into EFJ's "message" so enthusiastically. Just like those junior high boys...

James Hatch said...

Anon. 12:43, how about you squeal like a pig with a red apple in your mouth. As funny as that might be, it still wouldn't be newsworthy.

Anonymous said...

I think she has a cute body! I am another female and have no qualms with her being a free spirit but I do have a wee bit of an issue here. If a man skated down Ojai Ave with a pasty just covering the tip of his privates, wouldn't that be considered by most all of us as being totally unwholesome, disturbing and maybe even a bit gross? Like wise if you are another female and was overweight with huge boobs and butt and just donning pasties , would you be allowed to do the same thing? What if we all did it? I have my doubts about the sanity of it and I just don't like the double standard. Other than that she can skate on as far as I care, just don't skate in front of my car please.

Anonymous said...

So long crazy lady. In a month no one will remember her at all, including me.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should take your Alzheimer's medicine.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should take your Alzheimer's medicine.

Maybe YOU should take some Irish Alzheimer's medecine, prescribed for those who forget everything but their grudges.:-)

Anonymous said...

welcome to ojai where regular harassment from law enforcement is the standard for law abiding citizens this town was nice but now just filled with rich and upper class who fear the poor. EAT THE RICH !!!!

Anonymous said...

Any one remember Kayley manly who was violently murdered on OWER HIGHWAY GOOD OLD 33 by a resident who the police were well aware of as a ccs gang member you know like the little osl gangs we all know about 3 members went on to stab a man in ventura 5 all to gather in major violent crimes from this town but i guss naked protesters are easier to catch and not as violent some day ojai will wake up or parish. (deepest apologies to the parents this towns law enforcement failed to protect and serve) as well as all of us sorry.

Anonymous said...

Not all of us rich and upper-class folk wanted her gone. To me she represented the reason I moved here so many years ago. I cheered her on whenever I saw her doing warrior poses while rollerblading down the 150. I'll miss her, because frankly, we rich and upper-class people can be pretty boring because we've forgotten what it was like when we were young and adventurous and had something to say. I shall indeed miss her spirit. The town she moved to is lucky.

Anonymous said...

If she ever needs support she can count on me for two helping hands!

Anonymous said...

I told you so on May 12: In a month no one in this town will remember this crazy lady. The last coment was made on June 18, and it was so great to enjoy a 4th of July parade without her. Cheers!

Gareth said...

your government killed freedom of expression in the 70s. Since then you've just been kidding yourselves that you're free.

This story and your responses don't surprise me at all...

Anonymous said...

Personally, I feel as though she should have had her say in it. My thing is, we are all individuals. We all have our ups and downs, and from a personal opinion I think you should all go away and leave her alone! She's doing her own thing! Hell, I'd do the same if I wasn't so put down by people like you judging my physical body. And technically, she wasn't violating any laws to begin with. I agree with her quote about the world being narcissistic. I applaud her for her for being herself and not caring what other people think.

Ben said...

Boobs are the deciding factor in everything i do in life.