From Atlas Shrugs
Today we filed a lawsuit against the city of New York. Here is the complaint: Download Complaint–FDIvMTA–Filed_Stamped
The city has refused to run my SIOA “Preservation of Ground Zero” bus campaign.
It seems that Mayor Bloomberg invokes certain freedoms when it serves his 2012 agenda. Doing away with term limits wasn’t enough (which is why we are still suffering under his no-salt, no-transfat regime). He is now widening his ayatollah-like power grab to imposing blasphemy laws (Islamic sharia laws) on the secular marketplace. Bloomberg’s frenzied Ground Zero mosque push may have inspired Al-Azhar clerics to oppose the Ground Zero Mosque, calling it a “a zionist plot.”
Last month, I signed a contract with CBS Outdoor to run a “Preservation of Ground Zero” bus ad campaign. The campaign was paid for in full.
Here is the ad I submitted:
The ad was refused. I asked on what grounds. CBS Outdoor told me that the city said that “images of 911 were not allowed.” I was floored. I said, “It is American history. How can it be banned? What about Pearl Harbor? Is that censored too?” I said, “On what grounds are 911 images banned?” It is unconscionable. Will of CBS said, “You can’t run the plane.”
I asked CBS/MTA to provide me with the guidelines for these seventh-century censorship restrictions. They never did. And so, with the help of talented and singular Big Fur Hat, I removed the plane and submitted this ad with the following note:
Will, Still waiting for the MTA guidelines. Please respond to my previous queries. Here is the new art …… please know that I strenuously object to you changing my artwork and my message in the process. It’s American history. I am floored. However, since you and/or the MTA are unwilling to change your position, I have no choice but to run the advertisement with your edits.
CBS refused this ad as well. They said I had to remove the smoke. “The smoke?”
When I spoke to CBS’s representative concerning the second rejection of my Ground Zero bus ad, he said that the MTA “doesn’t want to associate the new building with Ground Zero.” The showing of the burning buildings “hurts people.” “Hurts people?” I find bus ads proselytizing for Islam hurts apostates, are you going to take those bus ads down?
I said, “Are you saying images of the largest attack on American soil are censored? Are Pearl Harbor images censored? Gettysburg, too?”
He said, “The people behind the new building say it has nothing to do with Ground Zero.” I said, “So what? That’s what they say. Others think differently. You are telling me they have said it has nothing to do with Ground Zero. But they are on record repeatedly as saying they want it there for Ground Zero ‘healing’ and ‘outreach.’”
I said, “Who cares what they say, what do they (Imam Rauf and Daisy Khan) have to do with running my ad? They dictate what can and cannot run?”
He said, “It’s controversial.” I said, “How? Where are the guidelines that point to this, where are the guidelines that I have been asking for over a month? Give me the guidelines and I will adhere to them.”
He said “I have been having a hard time getting the guidelines out of the MTA.” I said, “A hard time? Aren’t they written somewhere or posted somewhere? What are they?”
I said, “And what’s controversial? The ad merely says, ‘Why there?’” He said, “You are implying………..” I said, “Implying what? You are now going to tell me what I am thinking? Who is making these decisions? Who at the MTA or CBS is making these decisions? The MTA is a government agency — and you can’t provide me with guidelines but I am being held hostage to the capricious whim of some flak at the MTA? I am an advertiser. I bought and paid for an ad a month ago and you cannot point me to any substance or set of rules for the basis of ad rejection.”
I said, “I took out the plane as requested — now what’s the problem?” He said, “the flames.” I said, “What would be ok? Just the towers alone?” He said yes. I said “OK, I will create another ad with just the towers.” He said, “Before you do that, let me run down the hall and ask if that’s OK.” I said, “With who?” He said, with “his VP.”
And so I took out the smoke and submitted this ad:
CBS, on behalf of the MTA, said, “Remove the plane.”
Will of CBS said he was “meeting obstacles” but he was “trying to help me.” He said, “Get me an ad a/s/a/p without smoke, without any flames — just the towers.“
And so, I submitted another planeless ad, stating emphatically,
“I object to this censorship, which is effectively editing the viewpoint I am attempting to express in my message, but if this is the only choice you are giving me, then run the ad without the plane. It’s a plane in the sky, far removed. Planes do fly in the sky.”
The complaint against the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority has now been filed. It alleges violation of FDI’s (and Pamela Geller’s and Robert Spencer’s) Free Speech rights under the First & Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
In essence, and it is laid out clearly in the complaint with clear illustrations in the exhibits, the MTA decided that it was going to accept the “viewpoint” of Imam Rauf and his Islamist co-conspirators – to wit, that their plan to develop the Ground Zero Mosque has nothing to do with marking the “victory” marked by the destruction of human life and property on 9-11. Literally, the MTA made it its business to decide which of many viewpoints it would deem politically correct speech for advertisements on its buses.
What makes this jihad against free speech so egregious is that the MTA has run any number of controversial religious and political ads without batting an eyelid. But as soon as the Shariah-faithful cowed Mayor Bloomberg and the MTA into dhimmi-like submission, the First Amendment to the Constitution gave way to Shariah’s blasphemy laws. How long before the Mayor’s office begins issuing fatwas against those who dare counter the “noble and peaceful outreach” narrative?
Mr. Mayor and your colleagues at the MTA and the Landmark Commission: New Yorkers will not forget 9-11 and we will not be cowed into submission or silence. You might not want to hear our voices, but the federal courts will require you to listen. You claim the mantle of the Constitution as a basis for supporting a Shariah-Islamist mosque at Ground Zero, yet the MTA—a government agency of the City—cavalierly denies “infidels” freedom of speech. Enough is enough. (David Yerushalmi)
UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal reports:
Meanwhile, on Friday, a group sued the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in federal court, saying the agency has refused to run its bus advertisement in opposition to the proposed mosque.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative sought to run an ad that said “Why There?” and depicted the Twin Towers burning and a plane headed toward them, according to the lawsuit.
An MTA spokesman said, “No decision has been made on this ad.”