Last year, BART refused to run AFDI’s “Back the Ban” ad. Worse still, they instituted a ban, the infamous Geller Ban, because of this ad. So they are in violation of their own ad ban.
I am exploring my legal options on this now. Viewpoint discrimination is when they permit a particular subject, but pick and choose which viewpoints on the subject they will run. I will resubmit this ad, and Bart officials will likely argue that it is not the same subject matter as the ad from this Holocaust denial group, and maintain their ban. However, Bart spokeswoman Alicia Trost says below: “We cannot deny the ads…the agency does not endorse the message or group. You have to look at it for exactly what words are used and what images are used.” But when I submitted this ad in April 2017, I was told that “the SFMTA’s policy prohibits all political or public issue ads.” If that is so, they would have rejected the ad from these Jew-haters, which, if not political, is certainly a “public issue.” So we will continue fighting this. It’s a fight for our freedom of speech rights, and yours.
“California transit agency allows ad from Holocaust denial group,” by Sam Levin, Guardian, September 12, 2018 (thanks to Mark):
A San Francisco public transit agency has approved adverts from a group that promotes Holocaust denial and antisemitic views, claiming the organization has a “free speech” right to buy train station billboards.
Bay Area Rapid Transit (Bart) officials defended their decision to allow ads for the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has classified as a hate group that aims to “defend Nazism” and spread Holocaust denial propaganda.
The far-left Guardian has to go to the far-left hate group SPLC to find out that Nazism is bad? Does Obama know about this?
The electronic billboards, which say “History Matters!” and provide the name of the California-based organization, are in rotation at two Bart stations in San Francisco. They come at a time when antisemitic incidents have accelerated at alarming rates in the US and across the world, and as far-right groups and neo-Nazis have increasingly pushed racist and fascist views under the guise of advocating for free speech.
“We cannot deny the ads,” a Bart spokeswoman, Alicia Trost, said in an interview on Tuesday, noting that the agency does not endorse the message or group. “You have to look at it for exactly what words are used and what images are used … There is plenty of case law and court rulings that show if you deny the ad, you can be taken to court, and you’ll lose, and that’s obviously costly.”
The ads, which are running for most of September in the Powell and Montgomery stations, have prompted some backlash from the public, said Trost: “When people look into it, they are upset about the ads, which is understandable.”
The IHR was founded in 1978 by Willis Carto, a prominent far-right figure and Holocaust denier. The group previously published an antisemitic journal and sponsored Holocaust denial conferences, according to the SPLC, a not-for-profit that documents extremism and rightwing hate movements. IHR has been on the decline in recent years, but still runs a website where it promotes “extremist books and other materials”, the SPLC said.
The IHR website published an article saying there is “no evidence for Nazi gas chambers” and another saying “Germans were no more antisemitic than any other people”….
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