A startup company that manufactures sex toys for women filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the operator of New York City's subway system, accusing the state-run Metropolitan Transportation Authority of sexism and illegal censorship for refusing to run its ads since November.
Dame Products, a women-owned sex toy company that promises to “close the pleasure gap” for women by selling “toys, for sex,” sued the MTA for deciding to “prioritize male interests” after denying its ads but allowing other ads related to male pleasure and sexual health.
“The MTA is living in a Victorian era,” Richard Emery, a lawyer for Dame, said in an interview with Reuters. “It has a male-oriented censorship scheme that is discriminating against women’s sexual pleasure, and emphasizing male control of women’s sexuality.”
The MTA rejected a series of Dame’s ads with photos of sex toys alongside sex-related train slogans, including “Some riders need extra help getting off” and “The O Line is running express.” The company revised the ads to remove train references, instead OKing more general lines like “You come first,” but were still denied by the transit authority, according to the Verge.
Dame’s lawsuit against the MTA points out that the MTA regularly runs ads on erectile dysfunction for Hims and Roman, posters for the Museum of Sex, promotion of the HIV prevention method PrEP and even ads for “Kyng”-sized condoms from the New York City Health Department, Reuters reported.
Dame alleges that the MTA is violating the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guaranteeing free speech by choosing not to run its ads. Meanwhile, MTA spokesman Maxwell Young said in a statement that the transit agency is “constitutionally entitled” to set restrictions on the ads it runs which are “in no way gender-based or viewpoint discriminatory.”
Young clarified that the MTA runs ads for FDA approved medication, which includes ads for erectile dysfunction, but “advertisements for sex toys or devices for any gender are not permitted.”