Times Square Condom Peddler Loses Appeal

Times Square Condom Peddler Loses Appeal
Rhett Pardon

NEW YORK — A New York state appeals court has decided that condom peddler Jose Andjuar’s street sales were illegal, ruling that he wasn’t engaged in constitutionally protected speech when he hawked the contraceptives.

Anjuar, who was arrested three times selling his politically themed condoms in Times Square without a vending license, sold them with packaging that adorned the faces of President Obama, Sen. John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Each condom bore a humorous, innuendo-laden slogan. “Old but not expired” was the tagline on the McCain condoms. “As thin as her resume” was written across the Palin condom packaging. 

“We reject [Andujar’s] contention that he was engaged in constitutionally protected speech, exempt from the licensing requirements of the general vending law, because the condoms were contained in packages containing political messages,” the appeals court ruled Friday in a case that has wended its way through the legal system for five years.

Andujar argued that the political messages on his condoms were protected speech and made him exempt from acquiring a vending license.

The court disagreed, holding the condom packaging cannot “be equated with the ‘newspapers, periodicals, books [and] pamphlets’ specifically exempted by ... the vending ordinance.”