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Blogger pulls anti-Islam MTA ads depicting James Foley before his beheading after criticism from Foley's parents

Posted on September 28, 2014

"Controversial firebrand blogger Pamela Geller has pulled an anti-Islam ad featuring American journalist James Foley on his knees just prior to his beheading."

Original source: NY Daily NEWS, Sep. 28, 2014

The ads, which were to run beginning Monday on MTA buses and in subway stations, showed American journalist James Foley on his knees just prior to being killed. Foley’s parents joined critics saying the ads were bigoted and slanderous to law-abiding Muslims, prompting firebrand blogger Pamela Geller to pull the campaign and send a letter to the family.

Controversial firebrand blogger Pamela Geller has pulled an anti-Islam ad featuring American journalist James Foley on his knees just prior to his beheading.

 

The ads were to run on MTA buses and in subway stations, but Foley’s parents joined elected officials in denouncing the campaign and asked Geller not to go through with it.

The ads were scheduled to begin running on Monday in New York and San Francisco, but Geller buckled to the 11th-hour pressure.

Geller sent a letter to the Foleys’ attorney announcing the ads will no longer run.

“As a mother, and one who still feels the pain of the hideous murders of many in her extended family by the Nazis, and with friends in Israel brutally affected by Islamic terrorism as a constant of daily life, Ms. Geller understands and feels intimately the pain your clients are suffering,” reads the letter by Geller’s lawyer, David Yerushalmi.

“For this reason, and this reason alone, (Geller has) reached out as early as this morning to the New York and San Francisco transit authorities’ respective advertising agents to pull the displays depicting the captive Mr. Foley prior to his beheading.”

Geller’s group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, had bankrolled the $100,000 ad blitz, which was billed as an “education campaign” to wake up New Yorkers to the dangers of extremists groups like ISIS and Hamas.

But Foley’s parents and critics said the ads were bigoted and slanderous to law-abiding Muslims.

Public Advocate Letitia James slammed the MTA for green-lighting Geller’s ad in the first place.

“The MTA’s advertising policies make no sense and are woefully inconsistent,” said James.

The MTA said it allowed the ad because courts have ruled that the transit system is a public forum, and that banning viewpoints from being expressed in that forum violates the constitutional right to free speech.

The public advocate “knows full well that a federal court ruling prevents us from banning the Geller ads,” said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz.

Yerushalmi said some of the Foley ads might still appear in public, given the last-minute decision by Geller, whose group frequently takes out ads highlighting Islamic terrorism.


 Fermino, Jennifer, and Bill Hutchinson. "Blogger Pulls Anti-Islam MTA Ads Depicting James Foley before His Beheading after Criticism from Foley's Parents." NY Daily News. N.p., 28 Sept. 2014. Web. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/blogger-pulls-anti-islam-mta-ads-james-foley-beheading-criticism-parents-article-1.1956116