Tapbooty, the T and the Ad Takedown

Last week, Britni spotted an ad on the orange line that raised some concerns, and began tweeting about it in an attempt to get answers.

Yesterday, as the conversation on twitter picked up steam, we wrote to Tapbooty and to the MBTA, and Boston Magazine covered our concerns and efforts to have the ad removed.

Hi Jonah,

We’d like bring to your attention the Tapbooty ads that are running on MBTA trains (we’ve attached a photo of the ad to this email). The ad in question was spotted on the Orange Line. It depicts a cartoon image of a female sticking her butt out, with the words “tapbooty” written across it, as well as the words “Guaranteed Booty” at the top. We believe that these ads promote non-consensual touching and find them highly insensitive, especially considering the fact that they are running on the MBTA, where large numbers of women experience non-consensual groping (aka sexual assault) every day.
We know that women are experiencing unwanted touching, groping, and frottage on the MBTA because we get many submissions to our website, which collects stories of street harassment in the greater-Boston area. We also recently conducted a survey about street harassment in Boston, and while our report has yet to be released, we can tell you that 63% of respondants who said they’ve experienced street harassment in Boston named the MBTA as the site of that harassment.
We’re asking your company to stop running the ads on the MBTA, out of respect for the women that ride it on a daily basis, and in acknowledgement of the very real problem of sexual assault and harassment on public tranist. We would be happy to discuss the issues with this ad and others like it further, and look forward to your response before we begin a more public conversation. Thank you for your time and attention!

To their credit, both Tapbooty and the MBTA responded to our inquiries yesterday, and the company made moves to have the ads pulled from the T within the next couple of days. (Thank you!)

Britni and Kate,
We are sorry that our ad on the MBTA is offensive to you, and we have asked our advertising agency to take the ad down.
We have a lot of users at Tapbooty having fun, playing free games and earning cash & gift cards. Our intention with these ads was simply to attract new users, not to impact anyone adversely.
Jonah Lopin & John Osborne,
Founders, M80 Labs

What do you think? Opinions were, of course, mixed – but with three new stories submitted last week regarding assault and harassment on the T, it’s clear that the MBTA’s recent efforts have not yet established safe public transit spaces. There is more work to be done.

You can read more about the ad, our concerns and the response at Boston Magazine.


image credit: Hollaback! Boston


We actively denounce the notion that street harassment is culturally accepted and that victims somehow "deserve" it. Through raising awareness and sharing experiences, we hope to put an end to catcalling, groping, stalking, public masturbation, assaults, racial slurs, and other forms of street harassment. Because we believe we have the power to create a world where we can feel hot, confident, and badass, while still feeling safe!

2 Responses

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  1. […] Boston successfully got a company to take down offensive ads on their MBTA trains after launching a campaign on social media and in the press. They continued […]

  2. Dav7 says:

    It was just a bad reference to the name and the ladies :\

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