Out in San Francisco, an organization called the American Freedom Defense Initiative–the U.S. branch of the European organization, “Stop Islamisation of Europe”–bought some controversial bus ads last year, which, by coincidence, launched just days after the Charlie Hebdo shootings in France. The ads are fairly contemptible: They feature pictures of Hitler and declare that “Jew-Hatred” is in the Quran, and call Muslims “savages.” But, the city lost a lawsuit that would have allowed it to cancel the campaign.
Those statements may be bought-and-paid-for, but protests against them have taken the same familiar form that responses to public ads for everything from movies to McDonald’s have taken: Namely, wheat paste and a different message.
In this case, that message features Marvel’s new Ms. Marvel superhero–a Muslim teenage hero who first appeared in her own title last year, from Muslim writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Adrian Alphona. The images feature Ms. Marvel looking very super-heroic next to messages like “Stamp Out Racism” and “Stop The Hate,” proving that, once they’re up and in public, ads with gross messages are subject to the same cultural responses as ads for anything else.