Muslim Advocates filed a lawsuit on behalf of Vaguely Qualified Productions (“VQP”) challenging the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (“MTA”) refusal to run comedic ads about American Muslims. 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 lawsuit argued that, under MTA policies, VQP’s ads were commercial and not prohibited “disputed” political content. The MTA barred these comedians from running ads that clearly fell within the scope of permissible content for transit ads. It can’t be “disputed” that Muslims are human beings and these ads simply use humor to make that point.
Date filed: June 25, 2015
Court(s): United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Co-Counsel: Latham & Watkins LLP