Pamela Geller is at it again.
The outspoken blogger and Executive Director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative has just purchased a slew of advertising space in several subway stations and on numerous Metro-North platforms in order to display her newest anti-Islam message.
Her latest ads, shared exclusively with The Observer, will feature a panorama of the sky the moment the World Trade Center burst into flames in 2001, accompanied by a quote from the Quran that reads “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers.”
Ms. Geller’s various websites, AtlasShrugs.com, JihadWatch.org and TruthAboutQuran.com are listed on the top—making no details of the design particularly shocking (for her).
However, an MTA disclaimer taking up 25% of the ad space will be presented in conjunction with Ms. Geller’s message for the first time.
“This is a paid advertisement sponsored by American Freedom Defense Initiative. The display of this advertisement does not imply MTA’s endorsement of any views expressed,” it reads.
The MTA’s new disclaimer policy came in September of this year following an incident in which protestor Mona Eltahawy, 45, was filmed spray-painting another AFDI advertisement, which equated Muslims with savages.
The ad stated: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man.” It added, “Support Israel. Defeat Jihad,” in between two Stars of David.
Ms. Eltahawy was arrested, and every single advertisement in the series was defaced by the end of the day—a fact that did not go unnoticed. The MTA addressed the issue of salacious advertising at its monthly board meeting. The MTA had previously tried to amend its advertising guidelines so it could refuse “demeaning” ads, a rule that would prohibit “images or information that demean an individual or group of individuals on account of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, gender, age, disability or sexual orientation,” but that modification was deemed unconstitutional. With its hands tied, it opted to include a disclaimer on ads that expressed a particular viewpoint on “political, religious or moral issues or related matters.”
“A cost of opening our ad space to a variety of viewpoints on matters of public concern is that we cannot readily close that space to certain advertisements on account of their expression of divisive or even venomous messages,” the MTA’s statement at the time read. “The answer to distasteful and uncivil speech is more, and more civilized, speech.”
Following the September incident, Ms. Geller has been busy crafting new advertisements for her campaign beginning December 17. The new ads will be plastered across at least 50 different locations, the MTA confirmed, the result of an ad buy worth more than $10,000.
“I refuse to abridge my free speech so as to appease savages,” Ms. Geller told The Observer. “Thousands of anti-Israel ads have run across the city and not one has been defaced. My ads, 10 went up in New York City, and they were destroyed in hours. You don’t agree with me, fine, run an ad. I have no problem with other people’s ideas.”
She is prepared, however, for the people who disagree with her to take out their frustration on her ads. This time around, she printed twice as many.