Free Speech Laws Protect OKCupid’s DTF Campaign

OKCupid’s DTF campaign, which encourages singles to redefine the acronym to their own ends (e.g. “DTFight about the president”), has come under fire in Portland.

The app’s advertisements are reportedly permissible under the free speech laws in the region, however.

A TriMet bus emblazoned with “DTFall head over heels” depicting a lesbian couple was criticised by Twitter user Theresa O., who felt that the picture used was inappropriate.

Not only was it wrong “to have DTF in an ad that minors see on a daily basis”, said Theresa, but it was offensive to her personally as “a member of the LGBTQIA community”.

In a response, TriMet cited a ruling which permitted “almost any” messages to be included in advertisements:

“In 2011, in a case entitled Karuk Tribe et al v. TriMet, Oregon’s Court of Appeals ruled that TriMet’s advertising policy violated the Oregon Constitution’s “free speech” provision.

“That ruling was affirmed by the Oregon Supreme Court in 2014. As a result of these rulings, TriMet is required to permit almost any message in the advertising space on its vehicles, and so now accepts all ads that are protected by the Oregon Constitution.

“It is not, however, TriMet’s intent to create a public forum with this approach; rather, TriMet’s intent is to comply with the law as it has been interpreted by Oregon’s highest court.”

Theresa O. shared a letter she wrote to OKCupid to clarify the nature of her concerns:

One issue was “how society (especially heterosexual men) view lesbians and fantasize them.

“[The lesbian] image plays to the straight male audience with the hands on the butt and the stereotypical masculine hero/femme damsel in distress scenario.”

OKCupid has received other complaints about the ads.

Read more here.


Scott Harvey

Scott is the Editor of Global Dating Insights. Raised in Dorset, he holds a BA from The University of Nottingham and an MSc from Lund University School of Economics and Management. Previously he has written about politics, economics and technology for various online publications.

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