Boston Mayor: GTA Subway Ads “Hiding Behind First Amendment”

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.

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