TV shows frequently use public transportation as a way to promote themselves. A new show from Amazon, though, is causing a stir for plastering Nazi and Imperial Japanese imagery over a train on the New York Subway System.
The show is called “The Man in the High Castle.” Based on a novel by legendary sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick (the same writer of the source material for “Blade Runner” and “Minority Report”) is an alternate history where the Axis powers won World War II. The United States is divided into sectors, including one ruled by Japan and one ruled by the Third Reich. See the advertisements below:
The use of fascist imagery is a bit of a gray area for subway ads. Political ads are banned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but a spokesperson told Gothamist that the TV show ads do not count:
The updated standards prohibit political advertisements. Unless you’re saying that you believe Amazon is advocating for a Nazi takeover of the United States, then it meets the standards. They’re advertising a show
The Verge notes that the Nazi symbol used is actually modified to include an Iron Cross rather than a swastika, probably because no one in their right mind would put a swastika on a subway ad.
The ads could be particularly touchy in New York, a city famous for its large Jewish population. Evan Bernstein, the New York regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, told Gothamist that the campaign “has a feel of exploiting things that are so sensitive to so many people.”