Troubling advertisements on San Francisco buses promoting anti-Islamic views have been "redesigned" by a very special hero.
The banners, which were placed on the buses on January 9 by anti-Islamic group American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), read "Stop the hate. End all U.S. aid to Islamic countries.” Another read: " Islamic Jew hatred. It's in the Quran."
The AFDI is run by blogger Pamela Geller, who has funded similar campaigns in the past.
However, the bus ads were soon transformed. The ads now feature Kamala Khan (also known as Ms. Marvel), the first Muslim superhero, who was introduced by Marvel Comics in 2013. Her image has been pasted over the old images, accompanied by new signs: "Calling all bigotry busters." "Free speech isn't a license to spread hate." "Stamp out racism." "Rights for Palestinians!"
G. Willow Wilson, one of the creators of Ms. Marvel, talked about the campaign on her Twitter account.
The ads were changed by the group Bay Art Area Queens Unleashing Power (BAAQUP), who updated their blog on January 26 with some thoughts about their decision to get out there and do something about them.
"The day after the attack at Charlie Hebdo and the murders at the kosher grocery store in Paris, one of us texted another – 'Get ready, Pam Geller’s going to come to town.' Less than two hours later, posters equating Islam with Nazism appeared on San Francisco Muni Buses," the post read.
“Just because you have the right to say something, doesn’t mean you should say it,” said J, one of the street artists who headed out to run down the buses, on the BAAQUP blog Sunday. “Free speech can still have a cost.”
Ads like these have been on Muni buses before. In 2013, a similar set of ads was posted, featuring photos of Osama Bin Laden, the Times Square car bomber and more. City leaders spoke out against the ads as racist, but a First Amendment court decision obligated the city to keep the advertising.