Political Subway Ads to Get Disclaimers After “Savage” Controversy

09.28.12 Andy Cush

The Metropolitan Transit Authority board adopted a policy yesterday that will require all future subway ads that espouse a particular political or moral point of view to require a disclaimer that the views expressed don’t reflect those of the MTA, as well as an identification of the organization behind the ad. The move is a reaction to new ads by anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller, which read “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man,” in reference to the Israel-Palestine conflict, and which have been widely criticized as Islamophobic.

The MTA considered banning all political ads, but ultimately decided on the disclaimer. “But the MTA for decades has permitted its ad spaces to serve a broader communicative function than mere commercial advertising, and the Board today reaffirms that tradition of tolerating a wide spectrum of types of ads, including ads that express views on a wide range of public matters,” said a representative.

This week, there were several vandalism campaigns against Geller’s ads (as well as some tongue-in-cheek jabs from ANIMAL), including one that resulted in the arrest of journalist and activist Mona Eltahawy.