As Twitchy reported yesterday, the New York State DMV won the right in court to ban “Choose Life” license plates on the grounds that they’re politically divisive and, since they’re issued by the state, could be perceived as government-sponsored speech. It took years, but the courts finally found a way to ban the “patently offensive” plates.
Today we’ve learned that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is similarly suspending all issue-oriented ads through the end of the year. Why? Blame Pamela Geller, president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative and sponsor of the Jihad Watch Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest in Garland, Texas, that attracted two shooters.
New York’s transit authority has reluctantly accepted ads from Geller before. In 2012, 10 posters reading “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” went up in the subway after a federal judge deemed the posters protected speech, overruling the MTA board’s decision that the ads contained “demeaning language.”
CNN and MSNBC pundit and “proud savage” Mona Eltahawy proudly vandalized one of the posters, spray-painting over it (as well as a woman trying to protect it), later arguing that she was simply layering her free speech over someone else’s free speech. That act inspired the transit authority to add language to its advertising policy banning ads “which the MTA reasonably foresees would incite or provoke violence.”
The idea of posting copies of the winning entry in the Draw Muhammad cartoon contest is too much for the WMATA to handle, even if it means banning all issue-oriented ads.