July 15, 2018

RT America: Right & left united in First Amendment lawsuit against DC Metro

10 August 2017, 06:43 | Randall Craig

carafem Joins ACLU in Lawsuit Against DC Metro Over First Amendment Violations

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

"The ad violates Metro's advertising guidelines". Ads for Yiannopoulos' book "Dangerous" were initially accepted by Metro but were pulled down after complaints from riders.

"Here at the ACLU, we vehemently disagree with Mr. Yiannopoulos' views", Esseks said.

The WMATA's ads policy on controversial issues bans units "intended to influence members of the public regarding an issue on which there are varying opinions" or "intended to influence public policy". Milo Worldwide, the company Yiannopoulos established after being thrown out of Breitbart, had paid Outfront $27,690 for the placement and production of 45 ads around Metro's system. WMATA didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The transit agency reversed course a few days later. The ads featured a photo of the author's face alongside quotes from journalists.

NEW YORK, N.Y. August 9, 2017.

But Metro's regulations have tripped up more than just one objectionable writer. The ads were created to provide public information about reproductive health care and abortion care, similar to the way other medical offices advertise their services. "Metro's ban of our ads claimed that they were "issue-oriented" and 'provided a medical statement which can only be accepted from a government health association.' This is obviously inaccurate - we're publicizing our services like any other health care provider", says Melissa Grant, Chief Operations Officer at carafem. "See the individual. Go vegan". WMATA ultimately rejected the ad a week later, telling PETA the proposed ad only served to oppose the food industry "without any commercial benefit" to the group.

The far-right figurehead was banned from Twitter past year 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.

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

"Many viewers of the advertisement are aware that the play...contains many passages in which the Scalia character advocates his conservative judicial philosophy", the complaint reads.

For his part, Yiannopoulos appears to acknowledge the oddity of him standing on the same side as groups he's openly maligned in the past.

By representing Yiannopoulos, Esseks says the ACLU is standing form in their belief that free speech aids in the progression of civil rights movements. "I'm joined in this lawsuit by fellow plaintiffs including pharmaceutical villains and vitamin-deficient vegans, but I'm no stranger to odd bedfellows".

"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". Strong opponents keep us honest.

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