SAN DIEGO --
PETA sought to buy space at the airport terminal for an ad featuring actress Kathy Najimy ("Sister Act," "Hocus Pocus") asking people to avoid SeaWorld "if you like animals like I do."
PETA is backed by the
"While the government has some authority to regulate advertising, this is an example of the government abusing that authority and unfairly discriminating against the message of a specific advertiser," said ACLU senior staff attorney Sean Riordan.
The terminal walls are replete with advertisements suggesting that tourists visit San Diego vacation spots like the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld.
But the airport's advertising vendor refused PETA's bid to buy space for $17,500 for its anti-SeaWorld message.
The animal rights' group has led protests against SeaWorld in the wake of the documentary "Blackfish" alleging that the marine park mistreats its orcas. PETA also supports legislation introduced in Sacramento that would ban orca shows at SeaWorld and prohibit captive breeding of the animals, also known as killer whales.
In a statement released by PETA, Najimy suggested that people avoid SeaWorld and instead visit Balboa Park, the Old Globe theater, or "get naked at Black's Beach and hope you see a whale in her natural, compassionate, safe home."