Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy was arrested on Tuesday after defacing an anti-Palestinian advertisement in a New York City subway station.
During the incident, which was caught on video by the New York Post, photographer Pamela Hall attempted to protect the ad from Eltahawy. As Eltahawy tried to spray the ad with pink paint, Hall covered the ad with her body.
“Mona, do you think you have the right to do this?” Hall asked.
“I do actually,” Eltahawy replied. “I think this is freedom of expression, just as this is freedom of expression.”
Eltahawy had disclosed her intent to deface one of the ads earlier in the day on Twitter.
The controversial ads were initially denied by the city’s Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA). The MTA was later forced to install the ads in ten subway stations after a legal battle. The ad reads: “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat jihad.”
The ads were paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which was founded by anti-Islamist activist Pamela Geller. Following the incident, Geller described Eltahawy as a “fascist thug” and predicted her actions would be praised in “Leftist circles.”
Many of the ads have also been defaced by stickers that read: “Racist.”