The posters of a Holocaust denial group are displayed at BART stations in San Francisco.
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officials have defended their decision to allow announcements for the Historical Review Institute (IHR), which Southern Poverty Law Center has qualified as a hate group.
The billboards, which are on at least two BART stations, have a balloon with the words & # 39; History matters & # 39; and the name of the agency.
BART says they forced the IHR to remove the address of their website from the ads, but had no choice but to allow the ads.
Posters of a Holocaust denial group are displayed at the San Francisco BART stations
"We have no choice but to comply with the law with regard to First Amendment rights," the agency wrote on Twitter.
"We do not endorse these announcements, and the rulings of the freedom of expression courts against the transit agencies that have denied the ads have made it clear that we must publish these ads and allow advertisers to express a point of view without considering the point. of sight ".
Mark Weber, director of IHR, told The Guardian that they paid $ 6,400 for the notices that will be issued throughout September.
Weber acknowledged that the website has "published articles and articles that could reasonably be called Holocaust denial, but does not necessarily represent my point of view or the views of the IHR," he told The Guardian.
The ads have already triggered an online reaction.
Attorney Mark S. Zaid tweeted: "IHR is a horrible group. Try to help expose them in the 1990s. There is no excuse from the California transit agency to accept the ads.
Nick Giles also demanded to know if "there is anything we can do about the IHR warnings at Bart Powell & Montgomery stations."
& # 39; The Institute for Historical Review is classified by SPLC as a hate group that aims & # 39; defend Nazism & # 39; and spread the propaganda of Holocaust denial & # 39;
"Hate has no place in public transportation," Elizabeth Moore added. & BART should reconsider its advertising policies as soon as possible. Hate does not take place in public transport.
Hatewatch also tweeted his opinion about the IHR and said it is "a pseudo-academic organization that seeks to seek truth and accuracy in history", but whose real purpose is to promote the denial of the Holocaust and defend Nazism & # 39; ;
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officials have defended their decision to allow announcements for the Institute for Historical Review
Mark Weber, director of IHR, told The Guardian that they paid $ 6,400 for the ads that will be posted throughout the month of September.
The announcements come at a time when neo-Nazi groups, white supremacists and anti-Semites have become increasingly emboldened.
The IHR was founded in 1978 by Willis Carto, a far-right Holocaust denier, and has sponsored several Holocaust denial conferences and published an anti-Semitic diary, according to the SPLC.
They have published articles that include lines like "there is no evidence of Nazi gas chambers".
Other transit agencies have faced dilemmas about racist, misogynistic or prejudiced advertisements.
The transit leaders of New York City ended up banning all political ads after a legal battle to reject the proposals for Islamophobic ads.
The Washington DC subway system also faced a lawsuit after it rejected an announcement from alt-right broadcaster Milo Yiannopoulos.