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.