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ACLU Files First Amendment Lawsuit Against DC Metro for Pulling Down MILO Ads

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority over their removal of MILO ads from their transit stations.

“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,” MILO said in a statement to Breitbart News. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority removed a transit ad that MILO placed in their subway cars and stations after an outcry from several members of the DC community.

“The ad violates Metro’s advertising guidelines. We are in the process of removing the ads,” Metro spokesman Richard Jordan said in a statement after the ad campaign’s removal.

In a quote, MILO said that he’s glad the ACLU was willing to take on this important civil rights issue. “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 often 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,” MILO added.

The ACLU is teaming up with four brands who have been deemed too controversial to place ads in DC subway cars and stations. Amongst the others include 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.

You can read the press release in its entirety below.

ACLU PARTNERS WITH MILO TO FILE LAWSUIT AGAINST WASHINGTON, D.C. METRO
NEW YORK, N.Y. August 9, 2017. Right-wing author and provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos is lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit filed today by the American Civil Liberties Union against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority citing First Amendment violations in the Metro’s advertiser policies.
In late June, WMATA approved ads in several Metro stations and trains promoting Milo’s New York Times bestselling book DANGEROUS. The ads featured a photo of the author’s face alongside quotes from journalists. A few days later WMATA removed the ads for being “too controversial” after some riders complained.
The lawsuit, filed today by the ACLU of the District of Columbia and Virginia, argues that parts of the agency’s ad policies violate the First Amendment by discriminating against particular ads and advertisers deemed controversial by WMATA officials. The guidelines, adopted in 2015, 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 lawsuit puts MILO in the company of strong political adversaries, including PETA, Carafem, and the ACLU. Those organizations’ ads promoting–respectively–veganism, abortion services, and the First Amendment were denied placement in D.C.’s Metro system.
Of the lawsuit MILO said: “The ACLU will be representing me against the Washington, D.C. 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 often 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.”
Alexander Macris, CEO of MILO, Inc. — Yiannopoulos’s media company — said in a statement: “We are pleased to team up with the ACLU to defend the First Amendment. Our advertisements were apolitical and completely uncontroversial; we were advertising a book launch! We look forward to the WMATA changing their arbitrary advertising policies to better service their customers and advertisers.”
In a statement from the ACLU, Arthur Spitzer, legal director of the ACLU-DC and lead counsel in the case, said: “This case highlights the consequences of the government’s attempt to suppress all controversial speech on public transit property. The First Amendment protects the speech of everyone from discriminatory government censorship, whether you agree with the message or not.”

 

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