Anti-Muslim Bus Ads in San Francisco Get an Update With Ms. Marvel

ms marvel

With her Ms. Marvel super powers, teenager Kamala Khan usually fights drug kingpins and supernatural villains. But this week, her image is being used to combat Islamaphobia. 

Since 2012, the American Freedom Defense Initiative has been buying up space on San Francisco’s public transit system to run anti-Muslim ads. The ads have included numerous offensive slogans, including the line, “In any war between the civilized man and a savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel, defeat Jihad.” Distasteful as they are, courts have ruled that the ads are protected as free speech—if transit systems want to sell ads to anyone, they have to sell ads to everyone.

With the law not on their side, a clever artist recently remade the ads, pasting over the anti-Muslim slogans and images with a big pictures of the current Ms. Marvel, who is Muslim and Pakistani American. The Facebook group Street Cred posted photos of the altered bus ads.

new bus ad with ms marvel reads "calling all bigotry busters: stop the hate"

new bus ad says "stamp out racism"

ad says: "free speech isn't a license to spread hate."

Who knows how long the ads will last, but they’re certainly an improvement.

Related Reading: Two Artists Who Alter Signs to Spread a Guerrilla Message. 

h/t to G. Willow Wilson and Erin Polgreen

Sarah Mirk is Bitch’s Online Editor and a big fan of Ms. Marvel. 


by Sarah Mirk
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Sarah Mirk is the former host of Bitch Media’s podcast Popaganda. She’s interested in gender, history, comics, and talking to strangers. You can follow her on Twitter

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4 Comments Have Been Posted


And in SF of all places, how are those original ads getting approval?

They're protected speech.

I wondered that, too! Every time I've been in San Francisco recently, these ads are really jarring when the pass by on a bus. <a href="">This article about the whole issue</a> gives some good background—New York challenged the ads in court, but the judge found them to be free speech. The same thing has happened with <a href=" ads on public transit in Portland and Seattle.</a>

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