New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority amended their rules on Thursday prohibiting any ads they feel might "imminently incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace." Like, say, one that results in an activist being arrested (on video!) for defacing an ad.
The controversy began when a group approached the M.T.A. about putting up anti-Islam ads in the New York city subway system. After the M.T.A rejected the ads, they were taken to court and a judge forced them to accept the new ads on First Amendment grounds. The ads read: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad." The new ruling comes after activist Mona Eltahawy got into a confrontation with a supporter of the ads while trying to spray paint over them and ultimately getting herself arrested, all while being filmed. The M.T.A. believes the new rules fall in line with any First Amendment charges they might be called to defend. Under the new guidelines, any 'viewpoint ads' must carry a disclaimer explaining how the ad is not supported by the M.T.A.
Despite what the unanimous vote to pass the new ad guidelines might tell you, things have been tense between board members recently. Chairman Joseph Lhota lashed out at another board member on Thursday afternoon and called him a liar. It was not over the 'savage' ads, though. The two argued over proposed changes to their meeting schedule.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.