The New York Times reported that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority -- which is the agency responsible for New York's public transportation system -- rejected ads from Unbound, a company that sells sex toys. After coming under fire for the decision, the MTA said that it would, in fact, accept advertising from the company.
Advertisements that run in the MTA system must comply with the MTA's Advertising Policy.
The MTA permits commercial and government advertising, as well as public service announcements related to:
- Prevention or treatment of illnesses;
- Promotion of safety or personal well-being;
- Education or training;
- Art or culture;
- Provision of children and family services;
- Provision of services and programs that provide support to low income citizens, senior citizens, or people with disabilities; and
- Solicitations for contributions to provide funds to multiple charitable organizations active in the above areas.
The MTA also has a long list of types of advertising that it prohibits, including, for example, advertising that:
- Is Political;
- Promotes illegal goods or involves unlawful conduct;
- Suggests endorsement by the MTA;
- Encourages or depicts unsafe behavior with respect to the MTA or "is otherwise directly adverse to the commercial, administrative or operational interests of the MTA as a business";
- Depicts or describes sexual or excretory activities;
- Is indecent;
- Contains offensive sexual material;
- Promotes any tobacco or alcohol product;
- Contains an image of a person who appears to be a minor in sexually suggestive dress, pose, or context;
- Contains material which would "imminently incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace, and so harm, disrupt, or interfere with safe, efficient, and orderly transit operations";
- Is demeaning or disparaging to an individual or a group of people;
- Contains sexually explicit material; or
- Promotes an escort service or sexually oriented business.
The MTA's rules also require that advertisements that run in the MTA system "readily and unambiguously identify the person, corporation, or entity paying for the advertisement."