A San Diego State University sophomore was forced to remove an American flag from his balcony after apartment managers said foreigners could find the display offensive.
Brad Smith, who had just moved into the Boulevard 63 apartment complex in San Diego last month, told ABC 10 News that he received a written notice to remove the flag a few days ago.
“We were then told that it was for political reasons and that the flag could offend foreign people that live here, foreign exchange students,” Smith said. “I’ve had friends and family fight to defend that flag.”
While Smith’s lease agreement with the apartment’s management does have a clause that says “no signs or other personal property may be kept outside the premises,” attorney Christian Curry told ABC. that the clause comes close to infringing on First Amendment rights.
“Clearly, they want to keep it clean and that’s something they want to accomplish,” Curry said. “It’s a compelling reason, but it’s hardly a reason that’s going to overcome your free speech.”
Management initially told ABC that anyone who hangs a flag would be asked to take it down; however, it looks like the management capitulated after the media highlighted the story. An associate of the owners of the apartment complex told ABC there was a “misunderstanding,” and that the flag would be allowed to fly.