An independent Senate candidate in Massachusetts is suing to keep his sign calling Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren a “fake Indian” in place.
Shiva Ayyadurai is suing the city of Cambridge after he was told to remove two signs with Warren wearing an Indian headdress, the Washington Times reported.
The signs are placed on both sides of a school bus in front of Ayyadurai’s office and read “Only a real Indian can defeat the fake Indian.” Ayyadurai was born in Mumbai, India.
The jibe comes from her 2012 Senate campaign when critics seized upon Warren’s claiming Cherokee heritage when she was a law professor.
President Donald Trump has raised the history when he has called the liberal favorite “Pocahontas” as a slur.
Ayyadurai called the city’s order to remove the signs “a political vendetta by city officials who are supporters of Elizabeth Warren.”
Cambridge’s communications director said it had not received the lawsuit and “it is not the City’s practice to comment on ongoing litigation.”
The lawsuit comes after Cambridge’s building inspector said there were a “series of anonymous complaints” about the signs.
Branden Vigneault, the inspector, said the signs were posted without permits and violated a zoning ordinance.
Ayyadurai faces $300 for each day the signs don’t come down as well as potential legal action.
But Ayyadurai said the signs are not going anywhere and tried to make it a matter of free speech.
“We will defend the First Amendment, and we will fight this egregious attack on the First Amendment, at any cost,” he said.
Ayyadurai had previously announced he was running to challenge Warren as a Republican. But amid a crowded field, Ayyadurai said in November he would challenge Warren as an independent instead.
Ayyadurai said his campaign did not receive complaints for a previous sign.
“It was only when we put, ‘Only a real Indian can defeat the fake Indian,’ so it’s clearly trying to censor speech,” he said.
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Massachusetts’ Senate race as Solid Democratic.