‘We need to remove all the posters from the system’ — Boston censors the Palestinian narrative (Updated: The ads are going back up)

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This just in. Ads in the Boston transit system depicting the loss of Palestinian lands to Israel are being taken down, days after they were put up, because the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority “fielded numerous complaints.”

Here’s the email that Henry Clifford of Connecticut, who arranged the “substantial” ad buy in subway stations and commuter platforms, received from Titan, the outdoor advertising agency that has the Boston metro contract:

Hi Henry – just wanted to give you the heads up, your campaign posted on Monday and within hours the MBTA [Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority] fielded numerous complaints.  They have informed us that we need to remove all of the posters from the system, so I’m letting you know that everything will be down shortly.

Like I said, just giving you a heads up.  We will be reimbursing you in full for the entire campaign in the coming days.

Sorry for any inconvenience this will cause.


Josh Stevens declined to discuss the matter. Henry Clifford, head of the Committee for Peace in Israel and Palestine, says the ads appeared in the New York and Washington metro transit systems and got many similar complaints but were not taken down.

“You’d think Boston is an intellectual center of the country, with all those universities, and that they’d be broadminded and open-minded enough to see this,” he told me.


Boston magazine reports the ads are going back up:

Update, 4:30 p.m. Friday:  According to an MBTA spokesman: “The ads are going back up. Their removal was the result of a miscommunication between the MBTA and its contractor, Titan. There was a breakdown in our established procedures for handling complaints about specific ads.”


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