Snoop Dogg’s video for “Lavender” — in which the rapper shoots a clown-faced Donald Trump with a toy gun — has certainly drawn its share of criticism. But is it illegal?
President Donald Trump himself certainly suggested it could be early Wednesday, when he tweeted, “Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!”
Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2017
But it appears that Trump might have been overstating things, just this once.
“It has to be a credible threat,” Bryan Sullivan, a partner at the Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae law firm, told TheWrap. In Sullivan’s estimation, the “Lavender” video falls far short of posing a credible threat. With the Trump stand-in bearing the fictional name “Ronald Krump” and the gun Snoop fires dispensing a flag that reads “Bang” instead of a bullet — let alone all the clown makeup — the video falls under parody, Sullivan noted, an expression of speech protected under the First Amendment.