The capital of the free world has now banned all issue ads for the rest of 2015–just because controversial critic of Islam, Pamela Geller, tried to buy ad space.
The Board of the Directors of the Washington Metropolitan Transportation Authority (WMATA)–which runs the buses and subway in and around Washington, D.C.–announced the decision Thursday. For the remainder of 2015, they will ban all issue-oriented advertising which includes “political, religious, and advocacy advertising.”
While they didn’t cite Geller’s attempted ad buy as a reason for the sudden ban–Metro spokesman Dan Stessel claimed that Geller “did not come up in the discussion”–it came suspiciously on soon after Geller submitted a controversial ad.
Geller, who is the president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, gained headlines in early May when she hosted a “Draw Mohammed” contest, which allegedly led to a shooting in Texas by two apparently ISIS-affiliated Muslim gunmen. In Islam, it’s considered taboo to depict Mohammed. Geller claims the point of the contest wasn’t to defame Islam, but to display a defiant stance on free speech–saying that free speech, one of the bedrock American rights, won’t be sacrificed because someone considers it offensive.
The WMATA ad was to depict the winner of the contest.
Geller was, predictably, livid at WMATA’s decision. She wrote in an email to local Washington, D.C., news blog, DCist: “[WMATA] has suspended all issue-oriented ads [through the] end of the year after we submitted our free speech ad. Oh, the irony.”
She continued: “These cowards may claim they are making people safer but I submit to you the opposite. They are making it far ore dangerous for Americans everywhere. Rewarding terrorism w ith submission is defeat. Absolute and complete defeat. More demands, more violence will certainly follow.
“This is sharia in America,” she added.