ACLU suing DC Metro for rejecting ads on abortion, PETA, Milo Yiannopoulos

ACLU suing DC Metro for rejecting ads on abortion, PETA, Milo Yiannopoulos
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing Washington’s Metro for pulling or rejecting controversial ads, which the organization claims violates the freedom of speech.

The ACLU is representing a “diverse group of plaintiffs” in the new lawsuit, including an abortion provider, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos.

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

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One of the rejected ads — from the ACLU itself — featured the text of the First Amendment in English, Spanish and Arabic, which the group proposed after President Trump escalated his feud with the media earlier this year.

Metro dismissed the idea on the grounds that it “intended to influence members of the public regarding an issue on which there are varying opinions” or “intended to influence public policy.”

Carafem, a birth control and abortion provider, wanted to promote an ad that said, “10-week-after pill. For abortion up to 10 weeks. $425. Fast. Private.” And PETA proposed an ad depicting a pig saying, “I’m ME, Not MEAT. See the Individual. Go Vegan.”

Both were rejected on the same grounds as the ACLU ones.

Metro initially agreed to advertise Yiannopoulos’s new book, “Dangerous.” The ads featured descriptions of him from other publications such as, “the most hated man on the internet,” “The ultimate troll” and “The Kanye West of Journalism.”

But they were pulled from transit stations and subway cars after just 10 days, following complaints from riders about the right-wing personality. Metro said at the time that the promotions violated its advertising policy.

Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart columnist, is no stranger to controversy, garnering negative attention for his remarks on feminism, race relations, free speech and other hot-button political issues. He filed a $10 million lawsuit against Simon & Schuster for canceling his six-figure book deal earlier this year and later self-published the book.

“Unlike Mr. Yiannopoulos’ stock-in-trade, the ads themselves were innocuous, and self-evidently not an attempt to influence any opinion other than which book to buy,” the ACLU said.