Censorship of Anti-Circus Ad Prompts Free Speech Lawsuit Possibility

Greensboro Transit Authority Is in PETA's Bad Books Ahead of Upcoming City-Hosted Circus Show

For Immediate Release:
August 1, 2019

David Perle 202-483-7382

Greensboro, N.C. – Today, PETA legal counsel sent a letter to the Greensboro city attorney challenging the Greensboro Transit Authority’s refusal to run an anti-circus ad on its buses ahead of UniverSoul Circus performances that are scheduled to begin on August 13. PETA points out that rejecting the ad for “shed[ding] a negative light on a community event that the City is hosting” violates PETA’s constitutional right to free speech and warns that if the decision is not reversed by August 8, PETA may file suit against the city.

“An event in which sensitive wild animals are forced to perform confusing tricks under threat of punishment is a source of shame,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel Jared Goodman. “PETA is giving the Greensboro Transit Authority an opportunity to reverse its unconstitutional decision and is calling on people to stick up for animals by staying away from UniverSoul Circus.”

After years of PETA protests, the largest U.S. circus, Ringling Bros., shut down in 2017, citing the public’s changing attitude toward the use of animals in entertainment. Kelly Miller Circus is now touring animal-free, and an ever-growing number of states and cities across the country have banned traveling wild-animal acts altogether. Numerous celebrities have joined forces with PETA to condemn circus cruelty, including TLC’s Chilli, who recently appeared in a powerful ad campaign for the group targeting UniverSoul.

PETA opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview that fosters violence toward other animals. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind