Ann Arbor Bus System Agency Rejects Anti-Israel Ad
by Zach Pontz
The agency that runs the bus system in the town of Ann Arbor, Michigan has revised its ad policy but says it still won’t accept an anti-Israel ad.
In January of 2011, the Ann Arbor Transit Authority declined an advertisement purchased by Blaine Coleman to be featured on the side of an Ann Arbor bus. The ad had a skull and bones and said, “Boycott ‘Israel.’ Boycott Apartheid.”
In its rejection of the advertisement the AATA asserted that Coleman violated two provisions of its policy: that the advertisement be in “good taste” and that it “not contain any scorn or ridicule.”
In September 2012 U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith ruled that AATA’s advertising policy was unconstitutional.
After revising its policy and revisiting the advertisement earlier this month, the AATA upheld its decision not to run it, noting it still ridiculed an individual or group and remained in violation of their advertising standards.
“We felt like the ad was demeaning and offensive of a certain group and was outside our standards as the AATA,” AATA Chairman Charles Griffith said in an interview with The Michigan Daily. “We reserve the right to reject advertisements that are outside our standards and stand by our decision.”
Griffith clarified that the reasons for banning the advertisement are still “valid” within the AATA’s new policy and does not expect the AATA to change their views on this matter. He also cited a recent case in one of the state district court’s which ruled in favor of the company denying an individual’s advertisement in a similar conflict.