Civil Liberties

Video of Mona Eltahawy Vandalizing Subway Poster


As noted at Reason 24/7, journalist and MSNBC talking head Mona Eltahawy was arrested in a subway station by New York police recently while spraypainting one of the controversial new posters that calls Islamic radicals "savages." 

A New York Post video of the suspiciously well documented incident is below. As you can see, Eltahawy gets into a scuffle with a supporter of the poster named Pamela Hall. Hall, who seems to know Eltahawy, attempts to get video of the episode herself, but I'd doubt she got any usable footage. 

Best part: Eltahawy asks, "Are you Pamela Geller?

Some more description from News Busters

"Mona, do you think you have the right to do this?" said Pamela Hall, holding a mounted camera as she tried to block the barrage of spray paint.

"I do actually," Eltahawy calmly responded. "I think this is freedom of expression, just as this is freedom of expression."

Hall then thrusts herself between Eltahawy's spray paint and the poster.

Eltahawy—an activist who has appeared on MSNBC and CNN—engaged her in an odd cat-and-mouse dance, spraying pink every time she had an opening.

"What right do you have to violate free speech," Hall pleaded.

"I'm not violating it. I'm making an expression on free speech," an increasingly agitated Eltahawy shot back.

Eltahawy is not a raving lunatic. In the past she has made some fairly intelligent criticisms of extremists. But even allowing that few people keep cool heads while getting handcuffed by burly cops, she has obviously gone off the deep end here. While I like a good piece of detournement as much as anybody, there's a clear free-expression distinction between buying advertising and destroying an advertisement somebody else paid for. There's also a clear distinction between making a movie and burning down a movie theater because you don't like it. Eltahawy's act may not be as lethal as that, but spraying paint around the face and eyes of another person comes pretty close to assault in my book. 

Feast yer eyes: