October 7, 2015
American Muslims Win Right to Place Ads in NYC Subways
Muslim Advocates Applauds Court Decision to Allow Comedians’ Advertisements
Today, the U.S. District Court in Manhattan ruled in favor of Vaguely Qualified Productions (VQP), reversing the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) decision to refuse to run comedic ads about American Muslims.
“The court decision upholds our claim that sharing humor and stories by and about American Muslims educates the public about our community and should not be considered political speech,” said Glenn Katon, Legal Director at Muslim Advocates. “We applaud the court’s decision to allow the ads to run in the MTA system.”
In June, Muslim Advocates filed a lawsuit on behalf of VQP challenging the MTA refusal to run the ads. The ads, created by Muslim comedians Dean Obeidallah and Negin Farsad, use humor to talk about American Muslims. While the MTA initially approved VQP’s ads to run on the New York City subways, it later revoked the approval, citing new policies that restrict “disputed” political speech.
The court ruled “The text of the messages…is not ‘prominently or predominantly political’ – unless we have reached the unhappy moment in this country where the mere mention of one of the three Abrahamic faiths is ‘prominently or predominantly political’ simply because that faith is Islam.”
Latham & Watkins LLP and Muslim Advocates serve as co-counsel in the lawsuit filed on behalf of VQP, which is an award-winning video production company based in New York, NY.
Read the court’s decision here and our original complaint here.