ACLU Suing DC Metro System for Banning Provocative Ads

ACLU sues Metro for rejecting controversial ads, saying its policy violates the First Amendment

The ACLU today announced that it would be filing a lawsuit on behalf of Yiannopoulos, after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority refused to allow him to advertise his book on the DC Metro. The WMATA originally began the policy in 2015 when the anti-Muslim organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, sought to display its Islamophobic ads in D.C's metro systems. The A.C.L.U. also filed a motion for preliminary injunction calling for those ads to be reinstated.

"Just 10 days after the ads went up, WMATA directed its agents to take them all down and issue a refund - suddenly claiming that the ads violated [policy]".

"The Milo Worldwide advertisements were rejected based on the identity of the author and/or the perceived viewpoint of the book or its author", the complaint reads.

"WMATA has accepted other advertisements that are at least equally related to social issues on which there are varying opinions", the lawsuit notes.

Notices for Yiannopoulos's book were posted and remained up in New York's and Chicago's transit systems, both of which have rules against overtly political advertising.

What do Milo Yiannopoulos and the animal rights group PETA have in common? Despite the fact that WMATA's own guidelines that allow medical and health-related advertisements are acceptable "if the substance of the message is now accepted by the American Medical Association and/or the Food and Drug Administration"-as mifepristone, the medication in question, is-Carafem's proposed ad was rejected as political content".

The far-right figurehead was banned from Twitter a year ago after allegedly encouraging a wave of racist abuse directed at Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones, while he also took advantage of a university speech on his "Dangerous Faggot" lecture tour to single out and bully a transgender student on-stage.

- Several groups that include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a women's health care group and the company for right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos are suing Metro after their ads were rejected by the transit agency.

"This case highlights the consequences of the government's attempt to suppress all controversial speech on public transit property", Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the ACLU-DC and lead counsel in the case, said in a statement.

Melissa Grant, the chief operations officer for Carafem, said in an interview that the organization had successfully purchased Metro ads twice before guidelines changed in 2015. "I'm glad that the ACLU has chose to stop aiding the spread of sharia law and their usual wrongheaded social-justice crusades to tackle a real civil rights issue", he writes on Facebook. Strong opponents keep us honest. They don't believe any government agency should restrict fre speech, even if people find the messages (or messengers) abhorrent.



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