T-shirt controversy in Lake George Village

Posted at: 07/09/2013 12:01 AM
Updated at: 07/10/2013 11:36 AM
By: Dan Levy

LAKE GEORGE - There is a battle underway in Lake George Village involving the mayor and a local merchant. The thing they're fighting over is T-shirts. In the family-friendly tourism mecca that is Lake George Village, the Dilligaf store front on Canada Street is now in the forefront of controversy.

The T-shirts on display in the store window, some people might say, are inappropriate at best, and in the eyes of others, outright vulgar.

"I have to put in the window what sells," said William Massry, owner of the Dilligaf brand. "I'm a businessman and certain shirts sell better than certain other ones."

Massry says even though he had the First Amendment in his pocket, he had made an effort to remove profane paraphernalia from plain sight.

But the mayor of Lake George, Robert Blais, thinks he needs to go further. In the second of two letters written to Massry this summer, Blais writes: "...the complaints and letters continue to come to Village Hall concerning your display of obscene and vulgar T-shirts... Our community, residents, and taxpayers have worked hard over the years to make our village family friendly.... All this work is for naught when someone goes home and talks about our stores in a negative manner."

"None of my shirts are against gays, blacks, Jews, heterosexual or homosexual," Massry asserted. "It's about humor."

Dilligaf, for those unaware, is an acronym that stands for: Do I look like I give a f**k?" The "F" word and many other obscene words are prominently displayed inside the store, which is where Massry says they are selling very well.

"Here at Dilligaf, we put the F-U back in fun," Massry said. "People come in here, they're thrilled, they're happy, and they love buying this stuff. Dilligaf is all about fun. It's about expressing your attitudes without being offensive. Don't take life so seriously."

NewsChannel 13 reached out to Blais on Monday night, but by air time we hadn't heard back from him.

Massry says he has a meeting scheduled with the mayor on Tuesday when he hopes to iron out some of their differences.