MTA decides to allow controversial ads

September 27, 2012 12:59:41 PM PDT
There is big decision from the MTA about its policy of accepting ads on buses and subways.

The transit agency says it will continue to accept ads even if they're controversial like the anti-Muslim ad that has sparked anger and vandalism.

There was a lot of protest and anger at the meeting held to decide this.

The controversial billboard at Times Square was spray painted in protest.

But it was nowhere near the vocal outburst as the MTA sought to deal with these new ads.

"Do the right thing, take the ads down, take the ads down!" a protester screamed.

Public comments had already reached a fever pitch with several people voicing their disgust at a subway billboard which describes Islamic opponents of Israel, as "savages", when unexpectedly the last speaker Pamela Geller, whose American Defense Freedom Initiative paid for the ad, stepped up to defend the ad.

"There is a systemic institutionalized anti-Israel bias. This is not against Muslims. I love Muslims," Geller said.

Geller was shouted down at times. She was also interrupted by protesters chanting.

Geller stressed to MTA board members that jihad is not a race.

The board was examining its advertising policy after the courts ruled that it could not block these types of non-commercial ads.

"You should have never let those anti-Israel ads run. Once you did you can't say now we're going to change the rules. Don't change the rules," Geller said.

After Mona Eltahawy was arrested for allegedly defacing one of the ads, the voices of protest have grown louder.

They are even drawing support from MTA workers.

"I am here to condemn these ads that are appearing on subway stations and on MTA busses. They are racist, anti-Muslim and vile to the core," said Seth Rosenberg, MTA Train operator.

Starting to see a growing number of these non-commercial ads, the MTA Board approved new revisions to its advertising standards.

The MTA will now require sponsors submitting viewpoint ads on political, religious or moral topics to include a disclaimer.

"That disclaimer will say this is a paid advertisement sponsored by, blank, who ever that might be. The display of this advertisement does not imply that the MTA endorses any views expressed in it," said Joseph Lhota, MTA Chairman.

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