ACLU Sues DC Metro Over Ban On Milo’s Book Ads

From the ACLU’s blog:

Can the government ban the text of the First Amendment itself on municipal transit ads because free speech is too “political” for public display? If this sounds like some ridiculous brain teaser, it should. But unfortunately it’s not. It’s a core claim in a lawsuit we filed today challenging the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) restrictions on controversial advertising.

The ACLU, ACLU of D.C., and ACLU of Virginia are teaming up to represent a diverse group of plaintiffs whose ads were all branded as too hot for transit: the ACLU itself; Carafem, a health care network that specializes in getting women access to birth control and medication abortion; People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA); and Milo Worldwide LLC — the corporate entity of provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

To put it mildly, these plaintiffs have nothing in common politically. But together, they powerfully illustrate the indivisibility of the First Amendment. Our free speech rights rise and fall together — whether left, right, pro-choice, anti-choice, vegan, carnivore, or none of the above.

From the Washington Examiner:

Metro’s policies first came into place in 2015 after a set of anti-Muslim advertisements sparked controversy. Current guidelines ban ads “intended to influence members of the public regarding an issue on which there are varying opinions,” ads that “support or oppose an industry position or industry goal without any direct commercial benefit to the advertiser,” and ads “intended to influence public policy,” among others.

The group argued WMATA has applied a double standard because it has accepted a wide variety of advertisements convey controversial viewpoints. It pointed to WMATA’s rejection of PETA’s ad for a vegan diet, while approving of an ad from a restaurant showing a tasty dish and labeled “PORKADISE FOUND.” They also noted ads for a movie that showed four women ogling a male stripper were displayed at the same time it tore down ads for Yiannopoulos’ book.

Homocon Milo responds on Facebook:

The ACLU will be representing me against the Washington DC Metro after the latter caved to pressure from progressive activists and tore down ads for my book, DANGEROUS. I’m glad that the ACLU has decided to tackle a real civil rights issue.

I’m joined in this lawsuit by fellow plaintiffs including pharmaceutical villains and vitamin-deficient vegans, but I’m no stranger to odd bedfellows. Free speech isn’t about only supporting speech you agree with, it is about supporting all speech — especially the words of your enemies. Strong opponents keep us honest.

The ACLU has backed plenty of bad causes in the past, but they are also sometimes in the right, such as today. The citizens of Washington D.C. have to worry about living in a corrupt swamp brimming with violent crime. They deserve to be protected from that — not from free speech in their public transportation system.

  • Jonathan Smith

    I don’t think either of them was in the right today.
    BTW: misleading headline. Milo is just one of several being represented here.

  • CB

    Even if you can’t restrict speech, every carrier of advertising has standards and practices–networks, magazines, subway stations, etc. I would think the organization can refuse to publish the ads. Ads are rejected every day. This seems like a publicity stunt.

    • BobSF_94117

      For Milo, sure. For the ACLU, it’s not a stunt. Govt owned entities are not allowed to reject speech.

    • another_steve

      A “standard” of a city rejecting ad speech that some people find offensive is a terribly dangerous standard. One that needs to be fought, not applauded.

      If and when Donald Trump’s base takes over, LGBT-affirming speech will be declared “offensive.” Would you like your local city transportation system to be able to legally reject such ad speech on that basis?

  • Boreal

    So Milo the maggot hates the ACLU except when they represent his saggy pedophile ass.

    • Treant

      Dangerous…When Ignored.

      Also, never get between him and a microphone, you’ll get run down.

      • William

        His microphone is also a dildo. Do not touch.

  • Publius

    We all suffer when government is a gatekeeper of speech. Even when hateful speech is involved. Or even, especially when hateful speech is involved. This shouldn’t be a left-right issue.

    • kcken

      Dunno, have you HEARD the dog-whistles/hate speech COMING from the government and it’s faithful media base ?

      Pretty fucking sure, that removing a book advert doesn’t quite compare to that LEVEL of hate speech.

      • Publius

        Government, not the government or even this government. There are certain principles that withstand whoever is in charge of the government of the day. One of those is respecting freedom of speech, even fucked up speech.

  • safari
    • Todd20036

      Maybe Mattis should be saying that to Trump, too.

    • BobSF_94117

      No, Mattis said they should stop even thinking about actions, a far lower bar that they’ve already violated.

    • Publius

      I genuinely think people are letting their opinions about Donald Trump — as legitimate as the criticisms may be — cloud their thinking about North Korea. North Korea’s behavior is unacceptable. And don’t just take our word for it, ask almost every other country in the world, almost none of whom are allies with North Korea.

      Something’s gotta give.

      • TimCA

        Who here supports the North Korean regime or its actions? I think everyone here acknowledges what that government represents.

      • ultragreen

        North Korea hasn’t attacked anyone, unlike the USA. I think any attempt to justify a preemptive strike in the absence of any real aggression is highly dubious. Aggressive nation states have a history of justifying their aggressive actions by falsely claiming that they were motivated by self-defense.

        North Korea isn’t the only country in the world that tests missiles. The USA probably conducts more missile tests in a year than North Korea has during its entire history.

        • William

          Okie dokey then, let’s sit back and wait until a ‘practice’ missile hits Tokyo or Honolulu.

          • ultragreen

            Attacking North Korea is more likely to make us less safe, not more safe. It would be an easy thing for them to smuggle a nuclear bomb on a ship and detonate it in the harbor of a US city. I could see them doing this in retaliation for a massive preemptive attack. Similarly, a military attack against North Korea could trigger a nuclear attack against Seoul, Tokyo, or Honolulu, causing the very outcome that a military attack was supposed to prevent.

            We cannot destroy North Korea’s nuclear capability nor destroy all of their nuclear bombs using airstrikes. Your argument is based on the worst case scenario for inaction, while ignoring worst case scenarios that result from military action.

        • Uncle Mark

          I’m not sure at this point how or if a pre-emptive strike can or will work, but I do know when a little dictator starts boasting and threatening war (or mass murder) upon other nations, then that little man is inviting all the trouble he deserves. You cannot advertise and threaten to kill someone without the police stepping in.

          For all the sins that the US gov’t has committed, the fact is that Kim is a ruthless despot. His people are literally his starving slaves. He has demonstrated a murderous madness to hold onto power…murdering his own family in the process…and now he is proudly issuing threats to his neighbors and the US with little or no provocation.

          I will happily lambast our gov’t for Iraq and other foreign policy sins, but please do not compare us to N Korea.

        • Publius

          Um, South Korea?

          This is why people make fun of Americans. They think the world begins and ends in the States, and history began in 1776.

          North Korea is still technically at war. It has been threatening South Korea, which is our ally and the ally of numerous other countries, for years.

          • isn’t that sort of the point? “for years?” and what has come of all that? zero. no strikes, no invasions, no nukes.

            but whenever it’s time to distract the US from more important things, like collusion with russia and FBI raids into the traitor’s old campaign manager’s house for documents about russian involvement in the election… well. it’s time to talk about NK. which utterly failed to get a simple missile back into the atmosphere, as of their last launch. but yeah, Honolulu is at risk, or something.

          • Publius

            You basically just played into my first line about politics of the day clouding peoples’ judgment.

            Our country’s problem with North Korea has nothing to do with Donald Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia. In the bigger scheme of things: that’s simple politics and doesn’t really matter to international politics.

            You’re sitting here literally justifying North Korea as a nuclear power because of Donald Trump. Let’s not and say we did. Our status as a superpower really fucking matters, and transcends political bickering.

            It’s really sad that many Americans talk about international relations like a 5th grader delivering a book report, except he didn’t read the book. There’s so much knowledge, context, and history to be absorbed, and yet most Americans are perfectly content being controlled by their party’s or faction’s latest talking points.

  • That_Looks_Delicious
    • Octavio

      Ah,yes. The other white meat.

  • kcken

    Milo shits all over everyone else’s rights, and shits on the ACLU whenever he can.

    Don’t give a fuck, people complained, they removed the ads.

    End of story.

  • BobSF_94117

    The ACLU was representing other people. They didn’t need to take on Milo, as well, especially since he rejects much of their work.

    • Adam Schmidt

      But doing so strengthens their case that ALL political speech is protected. If they only took on the plaintiffs that agreed with them, then their case is partisan.

      • BobSF_94117

        Their case was, IIRC, already underway. They’re just adding him to appeal to the right. Which would be fine if the right didn’t always “forget” when the ACLU does something they like.

  • Keiffer

    I realize it’s the whole slippery slope argument. That can be fixed with a surely bipartisan Constitutional Amendment that carves out a specific restriction that denies Milo’s First Amendment protections in all possible media and venues. It might even break the record for the fastest Amendment ever passed.

    • thom

      And insanely immoral

  • bkmn
  • Octavio

    I would prefer to just take a Sharpie and deface Milo’s ads with moustaches, pointy beards, and text calling him out as an asshole. Leave the ads where they are and lets us do what we will. Freedom of expression and all that. Seems fair. 🙂

    • William

      Paste pictures of dildos over his face.

      • Octavio

        I’d just write “pedophile” on his ads with an arrow pointing to his mouth. Ya know, something simple and direct. 🙂

      • vorpal 😼

        Milo and a dildo is not an image I want floating around in my imagination.

    • Uncle Mark

      I would continue with that pork theme and point out that Milo advocates/normalizes porking kids

      • Snarkaholic

        In that case, be sure to draw a priest’s collar around his neck.

    • iambu

      I thought about that very thing about a week ago, but I was on the wrong side of the train platform…

  • BobSF_94117

    O/T: In case you’d calmed down from his shenanigans yesterday:

    Trump’s Threat… was Improvised. No one had any idea he was going to say it (although I suspect Miller or Bannon was in the know).

    • Gustav2

      Who is supposed to be his ‘minder?’

      • BobSF_94117

        I suspect they take turns being Short Straw.

    • William

      The crossed arms made him look like an insecure old lady.

      • pj

        yeah….chumps body language is very revealing

  • safari

    Is he hiding?

    • Treant

      Milo? He’s still sore from his party bottom Saturday night. You usually see him by Thursday, limping down city streets.

      • Uncle Mark

        How DOES he climb out of those city sewers?

        • Treant

          Slowly, with a trail of santorum behind him like the slime prints of a party bottom snail.

      • As loathsome as he is we don’t need to include bottom shaming. After all, what would we do without bottoms?

        • Beagle

          Regardless of Milo’s preferences, there’s another frightening thought in there. Who would be desperate enough to settle for Milo?

  • Mikey

    hey ACLU: don’t you think there are a few other battles where your attention might be better focused?

    • Silver Badger

      Would that be the battles you approve of?

      • Mikey

        it would be battles where people’s rights to live their lives are in considerably more danger of being taken from them.
        it would be battles that directly affect large proportions of the population.

        This is a low-priority fight.

        • Silver Badger

          Thank you for your response.

  • Mike C

    The people who oppose us are easier to push back on and more swiftly defeated when they’re allowed to run their mouths and dig their own holes. We don’t have to shut them up to shut them down.

    • Uncle Mark

      True. At the end of the day, it was Milo, who shot himself in the foot when he was running his mouth off.

  • William

    Is that freak still in the US? Most visas have an expiration date.

    • TexasBoy

      Interesting point. As everything I’ve seen indicates he is a UK citizen. Wouldn’t it be great to see him deported?

      • William

        Every time I’ve visited the UK, the nice people at Her Majesty’s Customs stamp “six months, then get out” right there in my passport.

  • TimCA

    It’s a dirty and often times revolting job defending the speech rights of someone like a Milo Yiannopolous. But I support the ACLU’s position here. Not sure if I’d devote much resources to the effort though. 😉

    • Tatonka

      I’d bet a half dozen donuts that he approached them first hoping that he could then go on a rant about how the hypocritical left wouldn’t defend his rights to be a national embarrassment.

      • RJ Bone

        He’s still including us in his rant, even if it is the furthest left of us.

    • Strepsi

      Exactly, the free speech that is inoffensive doesn’t need defending.

      I am a free-speech advocate because I am a member of a minority whose very existence or mention is offensive to many many people.

      • Gigi

        “I am a member of a minority whose very existence or mention is offensive to many many people.” I’m intrigued by this statement. Is there a side of you that we don’t see here?

    • Agreed. Plus, given how endemic it’s sales have been, I doubt Milo could afford to run ads now anyway.

  • thom


  • Hue-Man
  • FormerMainer

    Good for the ACLU. Our culture is slowly forgetting the value of free speech and at least we are seeing some forceful defense of it.

  • another_steve

    The ACLU is doing the right thing.

    Heinous speech is the speech most in need of protection in a society that honors free speech.

    • Uncle Mark

      I agree with you, but I REALLY hated seeing those Nazis marching in Skokie decades ago. I also hated seeing them protected by the police from protesters, who were more than willing to punch a Nazi. ‘Tis the bittersweet price of the 1st Amendment

      • another_steve

        I hate the thought of it too – of the Westboro monsters protesting at funerals, and similar such scenarios – but as you suggest, that’s the price we pay, living in a nation that respects free speech.

        • Uncle Mark

          And as far as Westboro is concerned, their assholery actually generated more sympathy for us gays…especially after Westboro tried to expand their hate in other directions…to include our soldiers, for example.

  • zhera

    Pharmaceutical villains, Milo? Oh, that’s right. You hate women. You hate them so intensely it turned you gay, isn’t that what you said once?

    ACLU has a point, I just wish they’d find a reason not to help out Milo.

  • MonochromeMouse

    Where were they when Amazon had to take down bus ads for The Man in the High Castle, or when FX had to take down the eyeball ads for The Strain? This kind of shit is why I stopped donating to the ACLU, Nazis do not have rights, period.

    • Tulle Christensen

      Well no, Nazis do have rights everybody does, I hope you remember your post when the government decides gay people do not have rights. You know there are KKKristains that say exactly that.

      • MonochromeMouse

        Nazis have no rights. There was a war fought over that, most of the world was involved.

    • FormerMainer

      I don’t see why the ACLU, a not for profit, would take on the fight of Amazon. Surely, Amazon can defend itself. Same for FX’s parent.
      and, as tulle says, rights are not only for people you like or agree with.

      • danolgb

        One point of contention, like Amazon, Milo is not a non-profit either.

        • FormerMainer

          I know. However, not all for-profits are equally capable of defending their rights. In fact, I’m sure Milo may be the least capable of all of the parties.

          • danolgb

            So what you’re saying is Milo’s corporation (an LLC) is more worthy of the ACLU’s help?
            In any case, Milo’s ads clearly fall under commercial speech and SCOTUS precedent doesn’t protect it under free speech.

          • FormerMainer

            “So what you’re saying is Milo’s corporation (an LLC) is more worthy of the ACLU’s help?”

            – Yes. The ACLU cannot take on all cases and when choosing which cases to take, it should not subsidize corporations with ample resources.

          • danolgb

            So some corporations are more worthy than others? Sounds like discriminatory practices. Someone should call the ACLU.

          • FormerMainer

            “So some corporations are more worthy than others?”

            – Not exactly. I’m sure of of your use of the word “worthy.” That is irrelevant. Rather, when choosing how to expend its limited resources, the ACLU (like most not for profits and pro bono legal programs) directs their resources to those less able to afford to bring the action themselves.

            ” Sounds like discriminatory practices.”

            – Yes, it is discrimination against the rich. That is a basic function of charity.

            “Someone should call the ACLU.”

            – To complain that rich corporations aren’t getting enough free stuff? Sure, go ahead.

          • danolgb

            Why should any corporation get free stuff? Why is Milo special? He doesn’t seem to be hurting for money. Also, I’m not entirely sure how his rights are being infringed. Do we all have the right to advertise whatever we want on buses?

      • MonochromeMouse

        Nazis are not “people you don’t like or agree with” they are by fucking definition a terrorist organization who’s goal is to murder anyone who isn’t the right kind of white. America fought a war to wipe out Nazism, Nazis have no rights.

  • TuuxKabin

    Still a member, and glad they’re doing right by free speech.

    Meanwhile, caught up in the frenzy of gettin’ our collective shit together for a three day cross country trek to Oregon for the eclipse. Found out welders’ goggles aren’t sufficient protection. This site/info has the real thing:

    • danolgb

      Free speech may not actually apply here. In 1942 the Supreme Court carved out an exception for commercial speech. This seems to be more the latter than the former.

      • TuuxKabin

        Dilemma, always with the dilemma.

    • William

      You need #14 welder’s goggles.

    • E.J.
      • TuuxKabin

        Thanks, great source and overwhelming store to go into. I ordered and had shipped to our Oregon destination ‘official’ glasses from EarthSkyWatch. Now, unless it rains, the smoke and haze will be problematic to viewing, as it already is to breathing. We’re ready to go with what ever happens. All trains to Salem, AmTrak, are sold out, since we’re taking AmTrak from NYC-PDX thought why not all the way. So our contact in PDX tells us we’ll drive, late Saturday or early Sunday and stay at her nieces for the duration and baby sit the chocolate lab puppers. Squeeeeee. Then a goat farm and make goat cheese. Hopefully there’ll be ice cream available. The best. You viewing it from anywhere along the route?

        • E.J.

          Atlanta is in the 90% zone so I’ll be staying in town. There are going to be enough problems here, no need to go to the mountains.

  • iambu

    Well, like my high school ethics teacher taught me: If you can’t be consistent with your values, you may as well not have them.

  • The_Wretched

    The government has an interest in preventing discrimination and anti-discrimination laws have been up held.

    • Hue-Man

      You’re right; in this upside down world, you can’t discriminate against white men! (snowflakes)

  • Tawreos

    Liking anything the ACLU does could cost him what little he has left of his conservative reputation. I wonder if this will hurt him more or less than supporting pedophilia?

  • Piet

    I’d have more respect for Milo if I ever saw him look someone in the eyes while he was talking. The amount of eye-swiveling he does when he talks tells me he’s either in a bad medical situation or totally dishonest.

  • teedofftaxpayer

    Sue happy little bitch isn’t he?

  • Or we could, I dunno, raise taxes and properly fund the Metro without treating riders like mindless consumers.

  • Dreaming Vertebrate

    This little dino might have to rethink making donations to the ACLU.
    There is no need to get involved with this douche bag.
    {Scratches head}

  • stevenj
  • JaniceInToronto

    So if conventional wars are good for the economy, just think how much money can be made in a multinational nuclear war!

    We’ll all be rich!


  • CottonBlimp

    I think too many liberals have this deluded idea that they’re making some kind of point by standing up on principle for people like Milo or Rush (whom the ACLU also defended). It doesn’t matter one whit to these fuckheads, because principles aren’t a thing for conservatives; they only care about getting away with anything they can. However hard the ACLU works to defend Milo’s rights, he’ll go right back to shitting on them the very next day, inwardly laughing that he could “trick” a bunch of “cucks” into wasting their time and money on him.

    • flip that. and think about it. what is the difference bw the ACLU, and the ADFJFK or whatever their always losing in court group is called?

      one defends the Constitution. Always. Every time. including when that protects Nazis, bigots and haters, as well as radicals, far lefties, and LGBT.

      the other? well, i’d hope you know who their clients really are, and just how often they’ve actually won.

      you’re not wrong. defending the Milos of this world is complicated and takes money away from other cases the ACLU might spend on more worthy people. but why are they able to raise the money in the first place? because the ACLU, unlike some wingnut welfare xtian billionaire funded group, has actual principles. people like you and i will write them a check, and together our checks add up to be just enough for them to keep afloat. why do we send them money, out of 000s of liberal groups? because we know they defend what is most precious. which is, the rule of law, and the equality of it, applied to ALL.

      • CottonBlimp

        It’s not that I disagree with any of the above. It’s just that the principle of the rule of law and its equal application is an obligation of *the state*, and *not* private organizations like the ACLU.

        The ACLU does not have an obligation to protect the democratic rights of anti-democratic agitators. It doesn’t have an obligation to protect Rush Limbaugh’s hypocritical drug addiction, and it doesn’t have an obligation to protect the KKK’s right to threaten black people with murder (something else they’ve gone to court over). That’s not hypocrisy, for the simple reason that the ACLU has neither the obligation nor the funds to donate their resources to literally every civil rights violation ever committed. They have to make choices anyway about who they do and do not commit to defending, and I think, in their mind, the decision to defend the very people committed to their destruction makes some kind of powerful statement, but it’s a statement that will only ever resonate with their supporters.

        In the meantime, they are helping actual fascists use the tools of democracy to undo that very democracy, I believe under the completely delusional, dogmatic belief that, given absolute dedication to free speech, the garden of ideas will weed itself.

        • the people are “the government.” i have no problem if some people, including people with real world experience, choose to extend the definition of “the government” to include privately funded orgs whose sole focus is to defend the documents by which we order our society. i’d rather have a crack lawyer from [famous law school] working for the ACLU than the feds, at this point. realpolitik, my friend.

        • “obligation of the state” — and when the state decides to abrogate fundamental rights, who, then, should step up to defend them?

  • Blake J Butler
  • beergoggles

    Oh screw these guys. Make this asshole and PETA pay their own legal fees and run their own lawsuit. Once the ACLU wins their case, the others would be pretty much decided on precedent, achieving the same result without having to bathe in bleach to get the stank of the skank off you.

  • dcurlee

    Will never donate to the ACLU again. To defend this ass is beyond my thought process. As someone else stated he’s not even a U.S citizen. He has done so much damage to the lgbtq community and they think this is a good move. They just fucked themselves

  • Hue-Man

    Headline: B.C. judge rejects anti-abortion ads on Vancouver-area buses

    An anti-abortion group will not be allowed to plaster Metro Vancouver buses with graphic ads that claim “Abortion Kills Children,” following a judgment in B.C. Supreme Court.

    The proposed ads from the Calgary-based Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform also showed images of fetuses, purportedly at seven and 16 weeks’ gestation, along with the website address “”
    Would the ACLU claim this qualifies for speech freedom?

  • Wow — the parts of the policy noted are nothing more than a blatant ban on political speech, which is generally what’s most in need of protection.