Elizabeth Warren’s Senate seat challenger in Massachusetts is suing over an order by city officials demanding he remove signs calling his rival a “fake Indian.”
Shiva Ayyadurai filed a federal lawsuit Sunday accusing the city of Cambridge of violating his constitutional right of free speech after he was ordered to remove the campaign signs which read: “Only a REAL INDIAN Can Defeat the Fake Indian.”
The independent challenger of Warren’s 2018 re-election bid has displayed two identical signs on his campaign bus featuring a picture of himself and an image of Warren in Indian headdress. The bus has been parked in a parking lot about a mile from Warren’s home, in front of a building owned by Ayyadurai, who was born in Bombay, India, according to The Washington Times.
Cambridge building inspector Branden Vigneault informed the campaign earlier this month that the signs lacked the appropriate “approvals and permits,” and that his department had received “a series of anonymous complaints” about the signs.
UNBELIEVABLE! What is AMERICA Becoming? The City of Cambridge is CENSORING FREE SPEECH by threatening #Shiva4Senate with a $300/day FINE if we DO NOT remove slogan “Only A Real Indian Can Defeat The #FakeIndian.” From BUS. @RealJamesWoods. We may sue. https://t.co/i5ziXY3cjD pic.twitter.com/bILdV3tNuZ
— Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai,PhD (M.I.T.) Inventor of Email (@va_shiva) April 20, 2018
“These signs must be removed immediately,” Vigneault informed the Ayyadurai campaign in a letter. “Failure to do so, may result in fines up to $300.00 dollars per day and legal action.”
“This is a political vendetta by City officials who are supporters of Elizabeth Warren,” Ayyadurai said, vowing to fight the order and arguing that the city’s building code does not apply since the signs are displayed on a bus, not a structure.
— Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai,PhD (M.I.T.) Inventor of Email (@va_shiva) April 24, 2018
“We will not remove the slogan from our bus,” he said. “We will defend the First Amendment, and we will fight this egregious attack on the First Amendment, at any cost.”
The Senate candidate claimed that his free speech rights are being violated as the signs only got the attention of the city when the Indian comment was added, referring to Warren’s claim to Cherokee ancestry which has earned her the repeated mockery of President Trump who has dubbed her “Pocahontas.” Ayyadurai has sent Warren a DNA testing kit on more than one occasion.
“They didn’t say anything when we had the first sign,” Ayyadurai said, pointing out that the “Shiva 4 Senate/Be the Light,” sign which he later replaced with “Shiva U.S. Senate/Fight for America” last year was never questioned.
“It was only when we put, ‘Only a real Indian can defeat the fake Indian,’ so it’s clearly trying to censor speech,” he added, according to The Washington Times.
Ayyadurai holds four degrees from MIT, including a doctorate in biological engineering, and has been faced criticism for claiming to be the inventor of e-mail.
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