Very Veronica: Unclothed Occupy protester explains why

The woman whose nude protest and arrest sparked questions in the final moments of the Occupy Charlottesville encampment says she's a little surprised by the attention but definitely not regretful. While over 7,000 online viewers may know her as "the naked lady," she is a 33-year-old freelance author/editor named Veronica Fitzhugh, and she says she did indeed have a mission when she disrobed November 30 to give a public reading.

The mission began with what she read: the Declaration of Occupy Wall Street. Organized like the Declaration of Independence, the document lays out a litany of alleged offenses and injustices recently practiced by too-powerful corporations including a practical take-over of American government.

As for the nudity, that too had a point.

"I felt that nude protest is a blend of vulnerability and empowerment; and, quintessentially, that is the basis of most passive resistance," says Fitzhugh. "Also: the idea of being completely exposed, which can be considered an extremely weak position, while having something strong to say."

Her gesture won respect from the man whose name that night was angrily spat by some of her fellow colleagues for not allowing the protest to continue. While some anonymous online commenters made derisive statements, Mayor Dave Norris offered appreciation.

"In a night that otherwise went totally according to script," Norris wrote to Fitzhugh on Facebook, "I think yours was quite possibly the only unscripted moment. And what a moment it was!"

Fitzhugh is no stranger to making potentially cryptic gestures. On Veterans Day, she covered her mouth with duct tape and held a thick wooden beam while standing amid magazine advertisements touting instant self-helps. This journalist was among those confused by her silent protest on Market Street, which we photographed and dubbed "Silent sentry" as an online "Snap o' the Day."

"I'm okay that most people didn't get that," says Fitzhugh, who says she was actually portraying martyred French warrior Joan of Arc.

Fitzhugh says she had to leave the Occupy encampment in Lee Park for several days after she developed a case of pneumonia, but returned in time for the ouster. And although she disagrees with her arrest for trespassing and for an alleged "indecent exposure," this former mental health worker with Offender Aid and Restoration says she appreciates police work and even took a moment to shake hands with the arresting officer.

"I have a lot of respect for law and order," says Fitzhugh, "to the point that I want to create more just laws."

Toward that end, Fitzhugh plans to fight the charges in Charlottesville General District on January 27.

–story updated with new court date (replaces original court date of December 16)


You go girl!

Thank you Ms. Fitzhugh, for your intelligence, creativitiy, and courage. You are a credit to the history of the free speech and protest tradition of our country.

One could say "that's the way to show the man what you're all about" - but then that might be misconstrued as well...

As for anyone complaining about naked folks dodging about Charlottesville, have you seen what goes on around here? Apparently her crime was disrobing while sober.

Veronica you inspire me! You are amazing and I feel privileged to call you a friend:)

It's been a real long time since I've read such a bunch of errant nonsense, a really long time. What a load of solipsistic hooey...

Yeah, running around naked in the cold at midnight tells me all I need to know...

She left with what and her solution to return was what?

Kind of sad thought process right there.

Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.===Anne Frank

Please resist whatever urges you to believe the worst in people.

Happy Holidays.

Veronica Haunani Fitzhugh
Naked Lady

Scary thought:this individual as a "mental health" worker for jailbirds!

@Amen Brother

I hope you are reading this in a time of learning and joy.

I can see how you might think that, because the article did not go into detail about what I did for OAR.

I gave talks to Charlottesville and University of Virginia police with suggestions about how to better handle people who were having mental health crisis during the officers' CIT training seminars.

I hope I have cleared up your confusion.

Have a wonderful holiday season.

Yours Truly,
Veronica Haunani Fitzhugh

Veronica, it has been a pleasure to make your acquaintance since last year. I didn't really understand the purpose of your action until I read this article. This is brilliant. As civilians, we are in vulnerable positions every day in regards to our civil liberties.

James Madison didn't originially want to write the Bill of Rights. He thought it was implicit that these rights belonged to the people. Recent events have shown that congress and state governments are more than willing to try to disrespect these. Now more than ever we need to defend our rights as humans and show the government that it was made for the welfare and protection of the people NOT corporations.

Veronica, were you also the person who lay face down on the ground 2 or 3 weeks ago, clothed in black with a suitcase and sign reading something like "foreclosure"? Just curious.

This explanation helps and tell the Judge, but bring your fine money. The guy who drove up/parked on the sidewalk (twice) and got two tickets, went to City Council to get them dismissed "as he was doing the right thing-recycling" he might a well bring his fine money also.

Well I'll be hornswoggled, a "performing artist" as well as a writer and editor. Freelance writer and editor is she? You wonder really a writer and editor of what? Wonder what "the rest of the story" is. Wouldn't you like to see the Barbara Walters interview?

Notwithstanding the unpostable obvious ,she is probably very nice .Some court cases have very difficult evidentuary pictures to look at .

Often these type of stories get lots of requests for more pictures to back up the story . Don't see that here hmmmmmmmm .



I am sure that Veronica is a very nice person which makes me very sad. I agree that something is seriously wrong in our country when intelligent, nice people like her are so disillusioned and lost that they would expend their energy and talents on the misguided Occupy Movement. I wish her all the best and hope that she finds a better outlet for her good intentions and talents. We have to find a way to solve the country's economic problems but camping out in parks adds nothing to the effort that will be required.

Forty years ago the US consumed 50% of the worlds resources such as oil,copper,steel,zinc,etc. The global economy has most of the world now tapping into that supply line which in itself is running out . The Occupy groups are just a symptom of the dwindling standard of living adjustment being experienced by the Western populace . The 1% group in the US are also being dislocated by the mega rich in other countries . Half of the top 50 billionaires in the world are in Russia a country rich in resources that was communinst 20 years ago .The trend dislocation in the Western countries will make for more and larger numbers then those now in the Occupy category.There have always been rich and poor but as the US buckles under debt and competition the great middle class will get stripped down increasing the ranks of the lower economic class.

The Hook had no problem milking(no pun intended) this with way too many pics. Is that what journalism is all about? You seemed more interested in the pics than any story. Surely one pic of her doing the reading would have been adequate.

To Frank Speaker - I agree with the premise that global economic competition must of necessity result in a relative decline in the economic status of Americans but I disagree that it must of necessity result in absolute economic decline. Our problem is that we as a country - REFUSE TO COMPETE - out of those thousands of Occupy folks camping out in parks around the country - there are some who could do something productive by using their talents to start a business that one day might grow into a company that might actually employ some fellow Americans and alleviate the economic plight. I personally think that the moment that the US eases its environmental laws (if this every happen), you will see an almost immediate increase in manufacturing and plans for additional manufacturing - and when and if this happens you will start the see people going back to work in jobs that actually can enable them to support their families - the choice is ours - either compete or continue to cry about what cannot otherwise be stopped.

Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Steve Jobs

The "Naked lady" made sure she was not ignored .

I like the style .

To Michael--- Yes the West refuses to compete because most are not aware of what is going on . The Western countries have the huge entitlement burden on their shoulders plus massive growing debt to maintain it . Our citizens want more entitlements expecting Utopia is at hand . The new countries on the block don't have the entitlement expense nor do they have the debt . The game is actually rigged against us .These Occupy folks and the homeless are just the most obvious losers in the game , their ranks will grow expotentially as the new economis powers increase their wealth and power while we continue to decline. Manufacturing as known in the past will not get a resurange in the West until the standard of living and wages here comes down to a comparable level to the hungry agressive countries . There is a long road of adjustment as the Western Democratic states melt down under their own weight .

To Frank Speaker - I work in a service industry for a very basic manufacturing sector and I see some signs for hope - manufacturing capacity utilization is improving and it is because the economics are starting to turn - wages and benefits have equalized more than many Americans realize as our dollar continues to lose value versus the currencies of the Far East - what prevents this gradual, incremental improvement from being more significant is our GOVERNMENT. The EPA is the biggest cause of American jobs being lost today - not globalization - and the other regulatory tentacles of the Nanny State are playing a support role in the killing of American jobs. I see hope, real hope, not that things will be suddenly like they were 20 years ago but that people can start to see an improvement in their lives and prospects - IF AND ONLY IF THE PRIVATE SECTOR IS ALLOWED TO REACT TO THE OPPORTUNITY. If Occupy Wallstreet were to somehow succeed and get the change that they are fighting for, the result would be catastrophic for the economic future of the 99% that they so arrogantly claim to represent.

To Dakota - it is very humorous to see you quote Steve Jobs here - I don't think that his comments were intended to include camping in public parks - I have a sneaky suspicion that his comments were more related to work and innovation. There is nothing new about what Occupy Wall Street espouses - not for anyone with any foundation in history. Things are tough - let's find someone to blame and let's hate them - The Occupy Movement starts with the premise that the troubles of the 99% which they have appointed themselves to represent can be traced to the upper 1%. It is a message of hate towards the 1% - the Occupy crowd believes that the 1% deserve to be hated but I frankly don't think that there is good hate and bad hate. It is the same hate that Idi Amin focused on the East Asians who were the trading class of post-independence Uganda - he succeeded in whipping up the hate and he was able to kick out the East Asians and steal their property for him and his cronies - but in the end the Ugandan economy only accelerated its collapse and the poorest of the poor only got poorer - The Uganda analogy is a little hyperbole but the result of a successful Occupy Wall Street Movement would be precisely the same - the economically suffering would end up suffering much more and their ranks would grow.

Good posts Michael

To Frank Speaker - please do a little research before making what amounts to a clearly unsupported argument. Yes, you want to feel important and for people to believe your arguments. But, by misrepresenting those facts "half of the top 50 billionaires in the world are in Russia" the rest of your argument is frankly not worth paying attention too. BTW, there are 9 of the top 50 billionaires in Russia and the Ukraine combined.

Cviller --- Your defensive tone shows you are in denial .

The fact is the unemployment problem in US can not be brought back to low levels . Manufacturing was mostly done in the West post WW2 when that is the only area of the world that had the facilities .We bombed out Europe factories. Japan and Tiawan changed that some .Then come Mexico but Chindia and the fall of the USSR changed the game completely .Many like Cville think there is just a blip in the economy and we can print money and spend and spend on entitlements for the priveledged and freeloaders for a little while everything returns to the natural order .Such people are living in a fools paradise.