The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has sued the Washington D.C. metro system for refusing ads on "political" topics including birth control, ethical treatment of animals and the text of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Chase Strangio posted his feelings on Twitter Wednesday, saying that while sometimes he agrees with the ACLU's decisions to occasionally take up the causes of "representing despicable people in the service of protecting the valuable First Amendment principles", when it comes to conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, he's not on board.
As the ACLU tweeted, "the four plaintiffs in our case span the political spectrum, illustrating the indivisibility of the First Amendment".
ACLU said. "Our free speech rights rise and fall together - whether left, right, pro-choice, anti-choice, vegan, carnivore, or none of the above".
The ACLU today announced that it would be filing a lawsuit on behalf of Yiannopoulos, after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority refused to allow him to advertise his book on the DC Metro.
Sherri Ly, spokesperson for the transit authority, said the current ad policy has been in effect for two years. "WMATA intends to vigorously defend its commercial advertising guidelines, which are reasonable and view-point neutral". The ads were created to provide public information about reproductive health care and abortion care, similar to the way other medical offices advertise their services.
PETA's ad showed a pig with the text, "I'm ME, Not MEAT". "Metro will fully consider the impact that issue-related advertisements have on the community by gathering input from riders, local community groups and advocates", spokesman Michael Tolbert said at the time.
"PETA's side of this public debate was the only one silenced by the government", the ACLU charged.
Yiannopoulos, who has both attracted and enraged crowds nationwide with his political commentary, sought to advertise his book "Dangerous" with an ad that simply included a photo of himself with quotes such as "The ultimate troll" and "The Kanye West of Journalism", according to the ACLU.
"The ideas espoused by each of these four plaintiffs are anathema to someone - as is pretty much every human idea", the ACLU said. The plaintiffs argue that "WMATA has accepted and displayed many advertisements that are meant to influence riders to buy, do and believe things that are at odds with PETA's viewpoint on humans' proper relationship with animals". One ad pulled down by Metro in early July featured the book of former Breitbart firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos, who has equated feminism with cancer and Islam with AIDS.
The organization noted that any advertisement could potentially violate Metro's policy, and that the transit agency has allowed other advertisements for organizations or issues that could be polarizing.