The Satanic Temple, Inc. v. Lamar Media Corporation
Lamar Advertising Company
|The Satanic Temple, Inc. v. Lamar Media Corporation|
|Original Jurisdiction||US District Court for the Western District of Arkansas|
|Plaintiff||The Satanic Temple Inc.|
|Defendant||Lamar Advantage GP Company, LLC; Lamar Advantage Holding Company; Lamar Media Company|
The Satanic Temple, Inc. v. Lamar Media Corporation is a federal lawsuit filed in the Western District of Arkansas in February 2022.
Both cases centered on the billboard company denying a proposed design by The Satanic Temple, with the Temple accusing Lamar Advertising of religious discrimination and Lamar Advertising asserting that TST's unproven claims of being able to avert state abortion laws were at issue.
Robert Stewart for The Baton Rouge Advocate:
- The temple unveiled its “Satanic Abortion Ritual” in August 2020. According to court filings, it involves taking deep breaths and reciting some of the group’s seven membership tenets — which revolve around personal freedom and critical thinking — before and after an abortion is performed.
- To promote the ritual, the Satanic Temple enlisted SeedX, an international marketing firm, to design advertisements and find optimal placements for them. The temple wanted to display billboards in Arkansas and Indiana near “crisis pregnancy centers,” which it says are “fake abortion clinics” that deter patrons from receiving the procedure.
- On Sept. 15, 2020, SeedX signed a $16,000 contract with Lamar to run the billboards for about a month. That same day, SeedX sent the designs to Lamar for approval.
- All of them carried the Satanic Temple’s logo, which depicts a “sabbatic goat superimposed over an inverted pentagram,” according to court filings. They also feature the same message: “Our religious abortion ritual averts many state restrictions.” In its suit, the temple argues abortion restriction laws in Arkansas and Indiana interfere with its religious practices, which support “bodily autonomy.”
- Shortly thereafter, Lamar executives began expressing reservations about the designs and their accompanying messages, according to emails the Satanic Temple obtained and filed in its federal court case. The emails indicate Lamar found the billboard drafts to be “misleading and offensive.”
- Several days later, on Sept. 21, a Lamar representative told SeedX the designs had been rejected. SeedX sent Lamar new designs in an attempt to mollify Lamar, but the advertising company ultimately canceled the contract on Sept. 25.
- The Satanic Temple argued Lamar unfairly terminated the deal without explanation. The suit says the contract was “unconscionable” because it gave Lamar an “unfettered right” to reject any designs.
- It claimed Lamar discriminated against the temple in violation of the Arkansas Civil Rights Act, and that the advertising company had previously approved other billboards with anti-abortion messages.
- TheAdvocate.com, Did Lamar Advertising unfairly cast out the Satanic Temple? An Arkansas court will decide., June 13, 2022