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Belgian Model Spat At, Chased After Walking Naked Through Hasidic Williamsburg

(JTA) — A Belgian model was spit at and chased for walking completely naked through the largely Hasidic Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg.

Marisa Papen and her crew undertook the photo shoot on March 21, at the end of the Purim holiday, but posted a video of the chase on her website just last week.

She walked naked throughout the neighborhood, including posing in front of a yeshiva school bus and in front of a synagogue.

Papen wrote on her website that she walked naked on several streets in Williamsburg but didn’t get the shots that they were looking for. She said that some of the men got aggressive and others looked at her as if she had risen from the dead, others -as seen in the photos posted on her website, just looked away.

Then it started raining and she danced naked in the rain. After, as she and her photographer and producer sat in an Uber, the car was surrounded by Hasidic men, one of whom spit into the window. One of the men had called the police.

The model jumped out of the car in a coat and made a run for it, followed by about ten of the men yelling “Go” and “Get out.” She eventually ran into the police. She convinced the police officer that she had not been naked and that the men had been aggressive to her and was let go.

A webpage about her project says that “Marisa’s goal is to raise awareness about the global suppression of women by the hand of religion. Battling this issue as a young activist and progressive art producer has been an intense but utterly impactful and rewarding journey.”

She has previously posed nude on a balcony overlooking the women’s section of the Western Wall, at Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia mosque, and near St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

She is an advocate for allowing women to go topless in public as men do.


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