For Immediate Release:
September 27, 2021
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Los Angeles – The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (LA Metro) ad policy permits popcorn chicken ads from Jack in the Box but not “I’m Not Popcorn Chicken” ads from PETA—so this morning, PETA has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against LA Metro and its CEO, Stephanie Wiggins, alleging violations of the vegan group’s First Amendment rights.
PETA’s lawsuit argues that the policy—which bars ads for noncommercial speech unless the ad is approved by a government agency—amounts to a prior restraint on speech and viewpoint discrimination, particularly since LA Metro has allowed other noncommercial ads, including one from United Way about ending homelessness, to run.
“In the land of free speech, LA Metro can’t block PETA’s appeals not to eat birds while running fried chicken ads,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Litigation Caitlin Hawks. “We’re pushing for the restoration of PETA’s First Amendment rights and the opportunity to encourage riders to save animals’ lives by going vegan.”
Before trying to run its pro-chicken ad, PETA tried to place a “Wear Vegan” ad with LA Metro. Both ads feature nongraphic imagery and a simple, straightforward appeal to practice kindness to animals.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat, wear, or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.