Sydney: Rock band The Doors and family members of late vocalist Jim Morrison have clearly said "thanks, but no thanks" to Florida officials for pardoning the singer of his indecent exposure conviction.
Morrison was convicted of indecent exposure for his actions during a 1969 concert in Miami, and outgoing Governor Charlie Crist had arranged for the pardon early this month from the state’s Office of Executive Clemency.
But on December 22 band members Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore declined the pardon.
"We don’t feel Jim needs to be pardoned for anything. Accounts vary as to what actually happened on stage that night," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted them as saying in a statement.
"His performance in Miami that night was certainly provocative, and entirely in the insurrectionary spirit of The Doors`` music and message.
"Whatever took place that night ended with The Doors sharing beers and laughter in the dressing room with the Miami police, who acted as security at the venue that evening.
"No arrests were made. The next day we flew off to Jamaica for a few days`` vacation before our planned 20-city tour of America. That tour never materialised.
"Four days later, warrants were issued in Miami for the arrest of Morrison on trumped-up charges of indecency, public obscenity, and general rock-and-roll revelry.
"Every city The Doors were booked into cancelled their engagement.
"A circus of fire-and-brimstone ``decency`` rallies, grand jury investigations and apocalyptic editorials followed - not to mention allegations ranging from the unsubstantiated (he exposed himself) to the fantastic (The Doors were ``inciting a riot`` but also ``hypnotising`` the crowd).
"The charges against him were largely an opportunity for grandstanding by ambitious politicians - not to mention an affront to free speech and a massive waste of time and taxpayer dollars," they stated.
The statement noted that Morrison died in Paris in 1971 in the midst of his appeal of the conviction on two misdemeanour charges for which he had been sentenced to six months`` jail.
"Four decades after the fact, with Jim an icon for multiple generations - and those who railed against him now a laughingstock - Florida has seen fit to issue a pardon," the statement read.
"If the State of Florida and the City of Miami want to make amends for the travesty of Jim Morrison’s arrest and prosecution 40 years after the fact, an apology would be more appropriate - and expunging the whole sorry matter from the record.
"And how about a promise to stop letting culture-war hysteria trump our First Amendment rights? Freedom of Speech must be held sacred, especially in these reactionary times," they added.