Eliminate Violent Advertising in the New York City Subway

Target: Gene Ribeiro, Director of MTA Promotions; Bob Keenan, Director of MTA Advertising Management; Mayor Bloomberg

Goal: Eliminate violent advertising in the subway.

Over six million people ride the New York City subway each day, many of them are children and adolescents on their way to school. Upon leaving and entering the station, they are bombarded with posters of Hollywood actors and actresses glamorizing the use of weapons.

With so many citizens of New York wanting strict gun control laws, why allow the presence of weapons to be in our faces every single day? These ads show youngsters that using weapons makes you sexy, glamorous and powerful. And because of the large volume of these violent ads, they also give the impression that using weapons is a normal part of life.

Following controversy over an anti-Jihad ad earlier this year, the MTA made the decision to be more responsible when it comes to First Amendment rights. Officials made the decision that they would have the right to turn away any ad material that could incite violence. A direct quote from the new MTA standards states that officials have the right to turn away ads that “would incite or provoke violence or other immediate breach of the peace…” How does the mainstreaming of weapons by imposing their images on us every day not incite or promote violence?


Dear Mr. Ribeiro, Mr. Keenan and Mayor Bloomberg,

With so many New Yorkers wanting strict gun control laws, why allow us to have images of weapons imposed on us every single day? Over six million New Yorkers ride the subway each day, many of whom are children and adolescents. Upon entering and exiting the station, they are exposed to countless ads depicting Hollywood actors and actresses glamorizing the use of weapons. Sometimes there are as many as five posters on a platform advertising various Hollywood movies that show actors holding weapons.

New Yorkers appreciate Mayor Bloomberg’s concern for our physical health, which is evidenced by his outlawing of smoking in many public spaces and limits on quantities of soft drinks consumed. But our physical health isn’t the only concern. What we consume in the form of advertising can be just as damaging. These posters create an unrealistic idea of gun violence for the millions of impressionable youngsters using the subway each day. The ads don’t portray the pain, suffering and instability that weapons-use create. They only show muscular men and glamorous women holding weapons, lending credence to the unrealistic perception that using weapons is somehow sexy or empowering. We urge you to limit or eliminate these violent posters in the subway.


[Your Name Here]

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  1. Not the way to set an example. Peace, not violence.

  2. you know these guns are pictures right? no one can actually be shot with pictures.

  3. Julie Ross says:

    Are you serious? First of all, sarcasm is for those who don’t know how to make an intelligent argument. It’s immature and ineffective. But more importantly, I can’t believe you’re going to attack an idea (and remember, it’s just that…an idea. Harmless, and yet still what every great social change begins as) that would promote community involvement, healthy lifestyles and positive values. You actually took time out of your life to sarcastically make a ridiculous statement that attempts to defend allowing the public to be bombarded with good-looking people toting guns as if using one makes one powerful or sexy? Have you heard of Edward Bernays? Have you any educational background on what effects advertising has on our culture? That it’s basically THE foundation of our social cues and behaviors? Read “The Waste Makers” by Vance Packard. I think it’s a sad shame that of all the things you could defend, violent advertising is what you picked.

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