The Archdiocese of Washington has taken legal action challenging WMATA’s advertising guidelines after they say their “Perfect Gift” initiative advertisement was rejected.
Ed McFadden, the Secretary of Communications for the Archdiocese, said that WMATA said ad was rejected because it depicts a religious scene “’and thus seeks to promote religion.’” Kim Fiorentino, the Archdiocese of Washington’s Chancellor and General Counsel, called the rejection of the ad “a clear violation of fundamental free speech and a limitation on the exercise of our faith.”
In an email to WUSA9, WMATA’s Manager of Media Relations Sherri Ly said the ad was prohibited by WMATA’s advertising guidelines. “In 2015, WMATA changed its advertising policy to prohibit issue-oriented advertising, including political, religious and advocacy advertising,” wrote Ly.
In 2015, WMATA made the decision to stop running issue-oriented ads after a cartoon advertisement depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad was submitted.
The Christmas ad in question was intended to be placed on Metro bus exteriors to promote the Archdiocese’s “Find the Perfect Gift” initiative. The initiative encourages people to attend Christmas Masses and to take part in Christmas traditions and service opportunities at churches around the DMV.
The full complaint can be read here.