Some cultures are just more accepting of farting than others. Australia, for example, where a recent court ruling declared that farting doesn’t constitute workplace bullying: “Justice Rita Zammit dismissed claims made by David Hingst, a contract administrator from Melbourne, who accused his supervisor, Greg Short, of bullying,” reported The Daily Mail.
According to the report, the 18-day trial — which included more than a dozen witnesses, one of whom claimed farting was just “typical banter or mucking around,” before suggesting that Australians are more okay with farting than Germans (the plaintiff was German) — was just the most recent case of farting case law. (For more on Germanic fart hate, in 2016, German police tried to issue a $1,000 fine to a person who farted at them.)
But while the Australian farting delinquent was able to avoid punishment, some other folks accused of tooting whilst human and in the presence of other humans weren’t so lucky. Here’s a rundown of all the times flatulence became a concern of the legal system.
1) Considering the hype about all the different types of dating terms, it felt apt to begin this list with a new dating term — revenge farting. In 2016, a Swedish man was reported to the police for farting, after the woman whose home he was in made it clear that she didn’t want to have sex with him. According to The Daily Mail, the man farted and left the apartment. But because the fart in question apparently “disturbed the woman’s piece [sic] of mind” (and caused her apartment to smell very bad, as noted in the woman’s police report), she decided to contact the authorities.
Unfortunately for her, Swedish police dismissed the case, stating, “It’s impossible to prove that he wanted to pass particularly smelly wind on purpose,” stated Kenneth Persson, a spokesman for the local police, as reported by The Guardian. Which is another way of saying, sorry, but being a jerk isn’t a crime (though it should be).
2) If you love your partner, you should let them fart around you. Which is sound advice unless your partner is a Floridian who is deathly averse to your farts and prone to violent behavior. “Marriage isn’t always a gas,” writes David Moye for the Huffington Post, reporting that in 2015, a 55-year-old Florida woman was arrested for domestic battery after attacking her husband for farting in bed. The courts agreed that while that may warrant a few elbows — which is initially what Dawn Meikle, the wife of the farter in question, used against her husband — it doesn’t make it okay to use pepper spray before beating your spouse within inches of his life. For that reason, Meikle was sent to jail (but released shortly thereafter).
3) Not only was Meikle not the only person to severely punish someone for farting, she wasn’t even the first woman in Florida to do so. In 2013, Deborah Ann Burns was accused of throwing an eight-inch-long kitchen knife at her boyfriend after he purposefully farted in her face. According to The Daily Mail, when officers responded to the call, they found Burn’s boyfriend with cuts on his abdomen and left arm. What a stinker.
4) Based on Jose Cruz’s run-in with the fart police, it’s clear that some farters are just farting for the heck of it. Cruz, after getting a DUI, decided to really lean into things by farting on the arresting police officer, landing him with an added assault charge. Originally pulled over for driving without headlights, then failing a field sobriety test, Cruz was brought to the police station, which is where he decided it would be a good idea to let one rip. “That’s when police say Cruz ‘lifted his leg and passed gas loudly on (Patrolman) Parsons… then fanned the air with his hand in front of his rear,’” reported The Daily Telegraph. “Cruz ended up with a battery on a police officer charge, two counts of obstruction, plus a DUI and a driving without headlights charge. His bond was $5,000.”
5) But what happens when one officer farts on another — who do you call then? In 2014, a Texas cop of 14 years was arrested by his coworkers for farting in another cop’s face. According to the affidavit, a communications operator was making coffee and talking to another officer, when the farting cop kicked him in the back, causing his body to “lunge forward.” “The next day, the document says, Jonap [farting cop’s name] hit the communications operator on the head with a notebook, flicked his ear and then farted in his face,” reported the Statesman. For his farting-foolery, the officer was charged with assault with injury, an offense which carries a sentence of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $4,000.
6) Now, back to workplace flatulence. In 2014, Richard Clem, a 70-year old man who worked alongside his wife at the Case Pork Roll Company of Trenton, New Jersey, was fired. The reason: Depends on who you ask. The Pork Roll Company told Clem it was a redundancy, but Clem and his wife claim that he was fired for farting too much. “Louann Clem [wife of Richard Clem] claims in a court filing that her husband’s termination was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” The Huffington Post reported.
According to the same report, when Clem was hired he weighed 420 pounds, but he underwent gastric bypass surgery to save his life. Though Clem lost 120 pounds, he also suffered side effects including “extreme gas and uncontrollable diarrhea.” Unfortunately for both Clem and his wife, the judge dismissed the case, stating that while company officials made inappropriate comments, they didn’t create a hostile work environment.
7) In 2011, Malawi attempted to ban farting in public under Malwaian Air Fouling Legislation in order to “mold responsible and disciplined citizens,” reported Time. Other offenses made illegal by the bill included, “insulting the modesty of a woman, challenging to fight a duel, and… pretending to be a fortune teller,” reported Business Insider. After some debate, the bill was passed, but it remains unclear what the punishment for passing gas in public would be.
8) And finally, we end this list on cow farts — more disgusting and stinky than any human fart, and according to California Governor Jerry Brown, responsible for severely polluting our atmosphere. In 2016, California began regulating greenhouse-gas emissions tied to dairy cows and landfills. “Dairy farmers will be required to reduce methane emissions from manure to 40 percent below their 2013 levels by 2030, with the help of $50 million from the state’s fee charged to polluters, known as cap-and-trade,” reported the New York Post.
The most delicious part is that the $50 million from the state was in part dedicated to purchasing dairy digesters for the farmers — because, y’know, dairy cows get indigestion, too.