Boston Mayor: GTA Subway Ads "Hiding Behind First Amendment"

November 24, 2006 -
Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is not pleased with the refusal of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority to remove ads for GTA Vice City Stories from its subway cars.

As reported by the Boston Herald, Menino accused the agency and its head, Daniel Grabauskas, of "hiding behind the First Amendment." The mayor said:
These ads are outrageous. The MBTA is a public entity and has a responsibility to protect the public from being bombarded by violent images.

To hide behind the First Amendment is despicable. We are talking about games that promote killing prostitutes, shooting police officers. So what if the ACLU is going to get mad? The MBTA is a public entity and the public is my first concern.

Menino was among those who signed a letter to the transit authority recently, demanding removal of the ads. Grabauskas told the Herald the MBTA has no legal authority to regulate ad content and pointed out that the agency spent over a million dollars in legal fees a few years ago in a failed attempt to block ads promoting a change in marijuana laws. The MBTA boss said:
As offensive as I, or any MBTA person, may find this particular game, we do not have the legal authority to remove it. The content on whatever is being advertised, whether it be a video game, a movie, a music album, a Web site, is not something we are allowed to be concerned about.

Comments

Personally, I got to give Mr. Grabauskas a lot of points on this one. Is he doing this to back videogames, and fight censorship? No. Is he doing this because it's the sane thing to do? Yes.

The MBTA has a contract to run the ads. Pulling them would be both illegal, and a breach of contract. Mr. Grabauskas and his staff considered the issue when it came up and went "Can we legally pull this? No. Will attempting to do so anyways, just because we or others might find them offensive, waste money? Yes. Answer don't pull them." And Mr. Grabauskas further realized that this was just a bunch of scapegoating and political maneuvering, and as such tossed some barbs of his own back point out some the hypocracy.

It's refreshing in any context to see someone doing what is legal and reasonable and standing up for that, instead of falling in with the knee jerk crowd rather than make waves.

The mayor of Boston is nothing more than a crybaby.

How pathetic.

If it wasn't for the first amendment, he would not be able to complain about the first amendment.

@Cyberskull

Actually, if there was no Constitution, then these politicians could do whatever the hell the want, because they would be above the law. That's why politicians like Menino hate the Bill of Rights. It was designed to make sure that they work FOR the people, not the other way around.

@bissel:
Now THAT's what I'm talking about. Good way to give them the barebones facts oy! GREAT EFFORT!

Hiding behind the first amendment? You mean people shouldn't do that? I'm sorry, could someone please explain to me why we have a first amendment if we're not supposed to use it.

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