Conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos has found an unlikely champion — the lefty lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU on Wednesday sued Washington DC’s transit system on his behalf, arguing it violated the former Breitbart reporter’s right to free speech by scrubbing ads for his controversial self-published memoir from stations and subway cars.
The bleeding heart legal outfit acknowledged the two make for an odd alliance, but defended its decision in a blog post.
“We did not take this decision lightly. We understand the pain caused by Mr. Yiannapoulos’ views,” the ACLU wrote. “We also understand the principles we seek to defend… that government can’t censor our speech just because it doesn’t like what we say.”
The transit authority accepted nearly $28,000 from the divisive media personality’s company Milo Worldwide in exchange for a 28-day ad campaign for his self-published opus “Dangerous,” according to the filing.
The campaign started on June 26, with ads featuring Yiannopoulos’ face, the book’s title and disparaging quotes from media outlets including “The ultimate troll” and “The most hated man on the Internet.”
When riders began complaining, the transit agency initially said it couldn’t take down the ads simply because “some find it inappropriate or offensive” — but then proceeded to tear them down on July 6 anyway, claiming they violated its prohibition on ads intended to sway opinion on divisive issues or intended to influence public policy.
The agency used the same argument to nix ads from animal rights group PETA, abortion and birth control provider Carafem and the ACLU itself, and they’re also part of the suit.
Carafem’s message advertised a “10-Week-After-Pill” while the ACLU’s ads featured the text of the First Amendment written in English, Spanish or Arabic with the words “We The People.”
Yiannapoulos has had a rough year — he was forced to resign from the far-right news outlet and lost a lucrative publishing deal for “Dangerous” after footage emerged of him appearing to endorse men having sex with underage boys.
“Some people may say that Yiannopoulos’ offensive speech sets him apart and doesn’t deserve to be defended,” the ACLU said in its post. “But the sad reality is that many people think that speech about sexuality, gender identity, or abortion is over the line as well.”
Yiannapoulos isn’t the strangest bedfellow the…