Dame Sex-Toy Company sues New York MTA for advertising rejection
- Lady, a sex toy company founded by women, has filed a lawsuit against New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
- The company says the agency uses a double standard by rejecting its ads while allowing other sexually oriented ads.
- The MTA says its policies have been very clear from the start.
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Dame, a company that makes “female-friendly” sex toys, has filed a lawsuit against New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, alleging sexism and censorship at the state agency after rejecting its advertising proposals.
In the federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, Dame founder Alexandra Fine said the agency, which operates all commuter train, subway and bus services in New York City, was initially receptive to its design arguments and worked with her on her first projects in September.
In October, MTA’s advertising provider said the agency had no objections to the updated proposals, Dame said in court documents. But soon after, the representative changed course, saying the MTA rejected the ads because they “intertwine the MTA experience with the ad messaging.”
That didn’t suit Dame, given how prevalent other sexually-oriented ads are in the system, even those that refer to trains and buses, according to the lawsuit.
“Although the MTA has previously hosted advertisements that celebrate human sexuality and openly discuss sexual health and function – not to mention advertisements that use sexual imagery or explicit text to sell consumer goods – the MTA has kicked Lady out of this dynamic public discourse and turned down Lady Space’s coveted publicity, ”the lawsuit read.
“Unable to justify this arbitrary and illegal decision, the MTA cited only a misinterpretation of its own advertising rules designed for the sole purpose of nullifying the images proposed by Dame.”
The MTA has yet to be officially served on the lawsuit, and Maxwell Young, the agency’s director of external affairs, commented:
“We have not been served with this lawsuit and cannot comment directly on it, but their public statements are clearly inaccurate as the MTA’s advertising does not in any way discriminate on gender or point of view. The MTA’s FAQ on its advertising policy makes it clear that advertisements for sex toys or devices for all genders are not allowed, and advertising for drugs approved by the FDA – for both sexes – is allowed. As the exclusive operator of a transit system used by all New Yorkers, the MTA is constitutionally empowered to make reasonable distinctions based on content between different types of advertising and to accommodate its various customers. . We intend to vigorously defend this lawsuit and will be represented by eminent First Amendment lawyer Victor Kovner and his colleagues. “
A spokesperson for Outfront, the vendor hired by the MTA to handle the ad, declined to comment.
“Vibrators are regularly prescribed by doctors as an affordable, drug-free solution for libido and arousal disorders, and sexual function issues for those recovering from abuse, cancer and more “, Lady said on a site for his campaign. “If the vibrator companies can’t advertise, these people won’t know what options are available to them.”
This is not the first time that the ad has caused controversy at the MTA. In 2016, the agency bans anti-Muslim ads from the American Freedom Law Center-appointed Southern Poverty Law Center hate group, which the group has pledged to fight in court.
You can read the full trial below: