A subway ad that has upset more than a few passengers has been removed, after the MTA decided it violated its advertising policies (PDF).
— Mason Bendewald (@MasonBendewald) September 25, 2016
The ad, promoting a Haunted Hay Ride attraction on Randall's Island, is still running on trains, but not for long. WNYC reports that after it made inquiries, the transit agency said, "MTA has determined the ad violates our ad policy - specifically that it is 'so violent, frightening, or otherwise disturbing as to reasonably be deemed harmful to minors' and we have instructed our advertising contractor to have the ad pulled immediately."
The MTA doesn't approve ads on the subway—its advertising contractor, Outfront Media, does—and while political ads are currently banned, other provocative ads are allowed. For instance, the ads for Thinx, the "period" underwear offended MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast, but still ran.
Ad on NYC subway for haunted hayride portrays woman strangled with head in a bag...Yeah, hayride+killing women=fun? pic.twitter.com/LI1G8aOqFZ
— Jen Harris (@JenHarr99) October 5, 2016
I hate the ad for NY Haunted Hayride, a throttled woman in a plastic bag with rope around her neck. Stop promoting violence against women.
— maddie (@sincerelylcohen) October 4, 2016
— Jessica (@blushindressing) October 12, 2016
— Terry Kinney (@RealTerryKinney) September 22, 2016
— Peter Duffy (@DuffmanTweets) September 27, 2016
— lizzie logan (@lizzzzzielogan) September 27, 2016
MTA board member Charles Moerdler told WNYC, "In my view, [the haunted hayride ad] demonstrates not just a lack of taste, but a clear absence of taste. Unfortunately, under the case law as it's been coming down from the federal court of appeals, there's not much the MTA can do about it."
Last year, the MTA allowed Amazon to completely cover the S shuttle train between Times Square and Grand Central Terminal with Nazi-imagery ads for their fantasy series Man In the High Castle, which imagines the world if Axis powers won World War II. Amazon eventually decided to pull them.