Ms. Marvel, a comic book superheroine, is being used in a series of graffiti attacks on free speech in San Francisco.
Ms. Marvel is a comic book superheroine owned by Marvel Entertainment. She originally was Carol Danvers, but the latest character to assume her identity is Kamala Khan, who first appeared in 2013. Marvel emphasized that Khan is Islamic, and it became such big news that legacy media sources, including the New York Times, ran stories on it.
Ms. Marvel is back in the news in early 2014, and her Islamic identity is again playing a central role.
The American Freedom Defense Initiative, an organization describing itself as opposing “global jihad and Islamic supremacism,” purchased advertising space on vehicles belonging to the city-owned San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. The AFDI ads focus on what AFDI says is Islamic hatred of Jews. Some have objected to these ads, and now one or more people are defacing them with Ms. Marvel graffiti.
And this attack on free speech is being met with cheers from many in the media.
NBC News praised the graffiti with the headline, “Comic Heroine Ms. Marvel Saves San Francisco From Anti-Islam Ads.”
UPROXX cheered it by saying that, “Ms. Marvel Is Being Used To Battle Islamophobic Bus Ads In San Francisco.”
And Blastr lauded the vandalism with a headline claiming, “Graffiti artists cleverly defacing racist San Francisco bus ads with Ms. Marvel.”
Islam is not a race. It is a religion, and people from any race can join it. But Blastr wasn’t the only media outlet confused about what Islam is.
Mstars News wrote that, “Now their teen super heroine, Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, has been using her powers in real life to fight racist anti-Islam messages on San Francisco muni buses.”
Writers at media outlets weren’t the only ones to praise the graffiti attacks. G. Willow Wilson, the writer of the Ms. Marvel series, also supports them, and she let the world know it through her Twitter account.
Some amazing person has been painting over the anti-Muslim bus ads in SF with Ms. Marvel graffiti. Spread love. https://t.co/U8W2g01O2T
— G. Willow Wilson (@GWillowWilson) January 26, 2015
But not everyone endorses this attack on free speech.
Eugene Volokh writing at the Washington Post legal blog, The Volokh Conspiracy, noted that, “No, pasting over anti-Islam ads with images of ‘Ms. Marvel’ isn’t free speech.”
“Is this action itself constitutionally protected free speech, as some have suggested?
“No — just as it wouldn’t be protected free speech to take a pro-religious-tolerance advertisement (or a mosque advertisement) and paste anti-Islam messages over it. People have no right to just attach their own messages to city vehicles. Indeed, attaching messages that write over lawfully purchased advertising messages likely qualifies as ‘[d]amag[ing]’ another’s property, or as ‘[d]efac[ing]’ it by ‘mark[ing]’ over it.”
In other Ms. Marvel news, the Inquisitr recently reported there are signs that Marvel Entertainment might be looking at Natalie Dormer to play Carol Danvers in the upcoming Captain Marvel movie.
[Image via the official Marvel website]