My organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), has prevailed in our free speech lawsuit against the city of Seattle.
On Thursday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in our favor, in a victory for all those who don’t want to see the freedom of speech destroyed in the United States.
Seattle had rejected AFDI’s public service ad featuring images of the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists, because of a perceived disparagement to Islam. King County unconstitutionally refused to display AFDI’s ads concerning global terrorism on the exterior of its public buses.
We sued Seattle King Metro for its suppression of free speech. Predictably, the liberal fascists in Seattle sided with the supremacists. We appealed to the clowns on the notorious 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Of all the free speech legal battles I have been embroiled in, this one was the most absurd. It illustrated the crippling submission and capitulation of government authorities to Islamic supremacist demands. King County claimed last year that “AFDI…has directly forced six of the ten largest transit agencies in the United States to end all forms of political, public interest, and religious advertising. AFDI’s Pamela Geller calls this the ‘Geller Ban.’ Dkt. 57 (Declaration of Hackett, Ex. D (Geller Dep. at 44:19 – 45:1-4)). To date, not counting the transit systems chilled by AFDI’s ‘free speech’ campaign, the ‘Geller Ban’ has substantially limited the speech available to over 50 million Americans who live in the affected service areas.”
That’s right: they were blaming us for the fascist, counter-free speech actions of the transit systems that changed their rules to ban all political ads rather than run our ads. This is classic victim-blaming.
Our legal team at the American Freedom Law Center responded:
The so-called “Geller Ban” referred to by the County is nothing more than a concerted effort by government officials to discriminate against Plaintiffs by seeking to close forums for Plaintiffs’ speech because the officials dislike the message. Plaintiffs refuse to surrender their freedoms to these government censors.
It took five years, but today we prevailed. The Geller Ban has been lifted. We are deeply grateful to our legal team, Robert Muise and David Yerushalmi of the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC). The Court ruled:
Because neither of Metro’s reasons for rejecting Plaintiffs’ revised ad withstands First Amendment scrutiny, we reverse the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the County and rem and with instructions to enter summary judgment for Plaintiffs on this claim. We stress that the First Amendment does not require Metro to tolerate harm to the transit system.
“Tolerate harm to the transit system” — everyone, it seems, it terrified of Muslim violence.
This all started back in 2013, when the FBI was running a terrorism awareness campaign featuring bus ads depicting photos of sixteen of the world’s Most Wanted Terrorists.
This was a publicity campaign sponsored by the Joint Terrorism Task Force for the State Department’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program. The ad featured the world’s leading global terrorists. As it happened, all but one were Muslim. Islamic supremacists and their leftist lapdogs demanded the want ad come down, claiming it was insulting to Muslims. The FBI caved and pulled the Seattle-area bus ads featuring the “Faces of Global Terrorism” after
receiving complaints “that the ads stereotype Muslims.”
At AFDI, we believed that this public awareness message was critical to national security and should run. We are constantly being clubbed with the claim that “moderate Muslims” abhor and reject the acts of terrorism that are constantly committed in the name of their religion, so why would they object to a wanted poster featuring Islamic terrorists who supposedly have twisted and hijacked their peaceful religion? Why would “moderate Muslims” provide cover for jihad terror? Why, indeed.
AFDI submitted a virtual copy of the FBI ad to run on Seattle transit. The cowards at Seattle King Metro refused to run the ad, claiming that it was disparaging to Muslims. Reality is disparaging to Muslims?
This has been a key freedom of speech case, with enormous implications far beyond this one ad. We will never give up in our fight against the many flagrant attempts to suppress our most fundamental freedom.
Pamela Geller is the President of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), publisher of The Geller Report and author of the bestselling book, FATWA: Hunted in America, as well as The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America and Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook.