Fat Tuesday poster featuring image of scantily clad actress causes outcry in Seattle on February 16, 1978.

  • By Patrick McRoberts
  • Posted 1/01/2000
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 2224

On February 16, 1978, The Seattle Times reports that managers of Fat Tuesday, the Mardi Gras-like festival in Seattle's Pioneer Square, are receiving complaints about the official poster for the event. The poster for Seattle's second Fat Tuesday features a fat portrayal of the actress Tuesday Weld skipping down a cobblestone street in a short dress. Women and women's groups have made complaints and signed petitions.

The poster was selected from 64 entries by a 15-member panel. In addition to Weld, it showed images of the actor Bob Denver, who co-starred with Weld in the television show "Dobie Gillis," as well as Washington Governor Dixy Lee Ray (1914-1994), looking on in the background. The poster's creator, J.C. Smith, said he put Ray in because "she adds so much color to everything."

Smith said that while he was sympathetic to the women's movement, he thought the flap was "rather silly."

Women called in to Fat Tuesday's office to complain about the poster. Festival managing director Bob Foster received a protest petition from 20 Seattle Community College students. The city's Office of Women's Rights also complained and Mayor Charles Royer (b. 1939) made the poster the subject of a staff meeting. Royer said the government should keep its hands off art.

About 2,000 of the posters were printed and sold for $3 and $5 at the celebration, which ran during the week of February 13 and ended on February 18. The image also appeared in festival advertising.


"Fat's in the Fire: Women Protest Poster," The Seattle Times, February 16, 1978, p. B-2.

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