SFMTA Counters “Savage” Ads


Image by ABC 7 San Francisco

It’s not over yet.

Last week we reported that SFMTA will be donating proceeds from controversial ads on its buses to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. That wasn’t enough for the agency, however.

The ad seen above started showing up last week on articulated buses that already carried Pamela Geller’s “Support Israel” ads.

Muni’s response ad reads:

SFMTA policy prohibits discrimination based on national origin, religion, and other characteristics and condemns statements that describe any group as “savages.”

To erase any confusion, there’s a graphic arrow pointing to Geller’s ad.

What do you think of SFMTA’s handling of this whole affair?



  1. A to the F

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    • John Murphy

      A to the F – that’s not the narrowly defined population targeted by the ad though, is it?

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  2. I am wondering, if the SFMTA is compelled to accept hate ads for their buses, are tobacco companies equally compelled to accept anti tobacco ad space on Cigarette packs under the same “freedom of speech” ruling?

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  3. Nentuaby

    Sebra Leaves,

    No… SFMTA is a government agency, and thus bound by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Tobacco companies are private and thus don’t face the same restrictions.

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    • Are you suggesting that private entities enjoy the right to freedom of speech but public entities do not?

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  4. Nentuaby

    Yep… That’s precisely the case. Public entities do not have rights in US law; they have authorities, which can be extensive but always give way to private citizens’ rights when the two come into direct conflict.

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  5. I want to buy an ad that says “Honk if you hate parking meters”. Is the SFMTA compelled to accept my ad under the same rules as they are compelled to accept the hate ads they are running now? Who would get the ad revenue? Would they use up another ad panel disputing my ad?

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