Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

ACLU, PETA, Milo Yiannopoulos suing Metro over rejected ads

ACLU, PETA, Milo Yiannopoulos suing Metro over rejected ads

"The ACLU could not more strongly disagree with the values that Milo Yiannopoulos espouses, but we can't allow the government to pick and choose which viewpoints are acceptable", he added.

PETA's ad showed a pig with the text, "I'm ME, Not MEAT. See the individual. Go vegan".

The organization has sued the WMATA on behalf of itself, abortion care provider Carafem, conservative commentator Milo Yiannopoulos and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). "The government can not pick and choose who gets to speak based on their viewpoint, no matter how controversial".

Yiannopoulos had been advertising on the subway to promote his new book "Dangerous", but the spots were pulled after riders complained about the right-wing provocateur.

The ACLU stated that the advertisements presented by the four plaintiffs are detested by someone or another somewhere in the world, as any human idea is, but they cite the WMATA also accepting ads from military contractors, sex apps and gambling casinos. The A.C.L.U. also filed a motion for preliminary injunction calling for those ads to be reinstated. Which advertisements do not break those policies? But this unusual foursome is teaming up to sue the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority because they've all had advertisements rejected by the transit agency's convoluted and inconsistent policies regarding political messaging.

WMATA's guidelines ban ads meant to influence public policy or opinion.

"WMATA intends to vigorously defend its commercial advertising guidelines, which are reasonable and view-point neutral", Sherri Ly, Manager of Media Relations for WMATA, wrote in an email to Independent Journal Review. Finally, the ACLU ad was simply the text of the First Amendment. "And WMATA's new advertising Guidelines, which explicitly or implicitly incorporate such viewpoint discrimination, are unconstitutional for the same reason", states the ACLU complaint, charging that ads "were rejected for reasons extrinsic to the advertisements themselves, such as the identity of the advertiser, the advertiser's known or presumed viewpoints, or the advertiser's line of business".

"The constitutional principle here, of course, is that government can't censor our speech just because it doesn't like what we say", Esseks continued. "We were trying to let people who wanted our services know where they can get it".

"The First Amendment protects everybody and if it doesn't protect you, then sooner or later it's not going to protect me either", Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the ACLU-DC and lead counsel in the case told IJR, noting the broad range of ideologies represented in the case.

"If First Amendment protections are eroded at any level, it's not hard to imagine the government successfully pushing one or more of those arguments in court".

"The ad violates Metro's advertising guidelines".

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