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Chicagoans Are Not Pleased With Those CTA Ads For Milo's Book

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jul 14, 2017 4:30PM

Photo: Tyler LaRiviere

Have you noticed the ads at CTA stations for the new book from Milo Yiannopoulos, the fallen alt-right irritant and onetime Breitbart editor? Plenty of Chicagoans have, and some were rather taken aback to see them posted in the public transit stops.

We found expressions of displeasure about the ads for the book—titled Dangerous—on social media dating from July 6 through today. And a post in the Women's March on Chicago Facebook group urged users to contact CTA about the ads.

The ads were spotted in multiple CTA locations, including the Jefferson Park Blue Line, the Armitage Brown Line, Damen Pink Line and the Jackson pedway between the Red and Blue Lines.


The CTA did not confirm how long the ad buy runs, or how much direct complaint has been received over the advertisements. But the agency did tell Chicagoist that "the ad's contents do not violate CTA's ad prohibitions."

The agency told Chicagoist in a statement:

"CTA cannot prohibit commercial advertising, in this case advertising for the sale of a book by a political person, based simply on that person’s political viewpoint. Our ad guidelines prohibit ads for products, services or activities that are illegal as well as advertising that is in and of itself disparaging, insulting, degrading or offensive.

For more than 25 years, the CTA has had well-defined guidelines that prohibit ads that are untruthful, misleading, disparaging or have mature content (including the depiction of nudity or sexual content).

Acceptance of advertisement does not constitute CTA’s endorsement of any product or service."

The CTA notably pulled ads for the Max Tucker movie I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, in 2009—although with tags such as "Strippers will not tolerate disrespect (just kidding!)," those were explicitly offensive in a way that the Milo posters are not.

The CTA's advertising policy and guidelines can be found here.

This isn't the first time Milo has generated consternation over ads for his book being placed in transit locations. Metro, Washington D.C.'s transit authority, said last week that they would pull ads for Yiannopoulos' book from the system amid complaints from its ridership, according to the Washington Post.

Milo's ads were pulled from the D.C. system for violating two of Metro's (separate and distinct from CTA) criteria, according to the Washingtonian:
- "Advertisements intended to influence members of the public regarding an issue on which there are varying opinions are prohibited"
- "Advertisements that are intended to influence public policy are prohibited.”

Yiannopoulos said the D.C. removal was "unconstitutional."

Given that Yiannopoulos actively courts controversy, his number of transgressions is too high to fully catalog. But he's perhaps most infamous for his online harassment of Leslie Jones, his harassment of trans students at and around speaking gigs, and a laundry list of misogynistic and bigoted remarks. He was met with a much-publicized protest when he appeared at Depaul last year.

Simon and Schuster faced stern criticism, including some from the Chicago Review of Books, for giving Milo a $250,000 advance on the book last year. The publisher eventually dropped Yiannopoulos and the book was self-published.

But the last laugh may be on Milo himself. After touting sales of 100,000 copies of Dangerous, the Nielsen Bookscan had that figure dramatically lower, around 20,000, according to the Guardian. Objectionable or not, the ad campaign doesn't seem to be working.