Landlord Nixes Atheist Billboard In Brooklyn; American Atheists President Calls Him A ‘Bigot’

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The American Atheists group that had hoped to erect a billboard in Hebrew and English saying “You know it’s a myth… and you have a choice” ran afoul of a higher power: The landlord.

The billboard was meant to go up Monday, much like the one in Arabic and English did in Paterson, N.J.

The landlord refused to allow the billboard to go up on his building in Williamsburg, Silverman said.

“We were all there, ready to go. The billboard company was there, ready to install it, and the landlord did not want atheists on his roof, and he turned us away. That’s his right, because in America you have the right to be a bigot,” Silverman told

“If the Jews wanted to put up a billboard and were told that they had to move and weren’t allowed to put up a billboard, they would call that person a bigot,” Silverman said. “If someone said ‘I don’t want Jews putting up a billboard here’ they would be seen as a bigot, and rightly so.”

The building is located at 109 South 5th Street and owned by Ken Stier of Stier 109 LLC. spoke with Mr. Stier, who said he had no comment on the matter or Silverman’s remarks calling him a bigot.

The billboard was eventually put up a mile and a half away from the desired location and is now up above the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The location is not as central to the Hasidic community of South Williamsburg.

“The purpose of the billboard is to highlight the Reason Rally, which is a positive event, we did not want to start it with a negative, but here we are,” Silverman said. Silverman says the rally is set for March 24th on the National Mall.

“It’s basically Woodstock for atheists.”

“Bill Maher will have a presence,” Silverman said somewhat cryptically without clarifying what the comedian’s role would be. “People of all backgrounds, everyone is welcome, it’s free and open to the public.”

Muslims near the one in Paterson welcomed the billboard as a basis for conversation and invited American Atheists to participate in a dialogue. Mohamad El Filali, Executive Director of the Islamic Center in Passaic County, extended the invitation.

“I met with him yesterday,” Silverman said. “The response from the Muslim community was very diversity positive.”

“The Imam wants to debate the existence of god, which is something we’re willing to do but not seeking to do. We’re not trying to convert. We’re trying to gain acceptance for the atheists that are in the Muslim community.”

What do you think of the atheist billboards? Do you support the landlord’s decision? Sound off in our comments section below. 


    The GOD of the bible needs no one to defend “The Existence”…Exodus 3:13-14 check…l.o.l.

  • timobateman

    It wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t actually write out “the Name” of God on the billboard when there is so much respect for that Name that it cannot be mentioned without much cleansing and ritual and only by the High Priest on only one day of every year. That is the biggest insult – it’s like sacrificing a pig on the alter of the Temple in Jerusalem. Is it their right? Yes. Would it have been enough to write out their slogan without the name in both languages? Yes. But they chose to also defame “The Name.” That’s the problem. Whether you’re an atheist or not, it’s disrespectful. Not a good way of gaining respect – or members.

  • adly shebaro

    please some body tell me how many people has been slaughtered in the
    name of RELIGION
    Millions yes millions and wo’nt stop. for me RELIGION mean hate .

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  • Al

    Property rights are a beautiful thing…

  • F*ck Those Athiest Hypocrits

    Asshole athiests. They are just as bigotted as religious people are. F*CK THEM (I’m aware that makes me bigotted. But I can handle that fact.)

  • ken88

    The atheists have the nerve to cry bigotry? What hypocrisy! They are doing this to provoke people.

    • Michael H.

      They are putting these billboards up to reach out to non-believers that are too afraid to come out in their communities. This has nothing to do with provocation and everything to do with assuring other atheists that are afraid to speak their true minds that they are not alone.

      • Lou

        I HAVE NEVER MET AN ATHIEST WHO WAS AFRAID TO SPEAK. They are always the loudest one in the bunch!

        • ejones

          Within hyper-religious communities like the hasidim, being a non-believer can subject a person to ostracization and discrimination. The point of these billboards is to reach out to those people and offer them a safe place to express their position.
          Most atheists are quiet and respectful, despite the bigotry they endure.

          • Anne

            You total FOOL!!!! If a person is an atheist he or she wouldn’t be a member of the Hasidic community in the first place you MORON!! So if he’s not a member of that community tell me how in the hell he can be ostracized by its members.

            • Michael H.

              Wow you’re an abusive twit. These people are indoctrinated from the cradle. Sometimes they lose the faith once they are already ingrained in the community.

            • jeff

              Lots of closet atheists live in that community, don’t be naive.

              • Anne

                If they are atheista they don’t belong in that community, they should leave and pursue their perverted lifestyle elsewhere. They’re COWARDS for remaining in the closet. Some conviction to what they believe!!

                • Michael H.

                  How would you like to be ostracized from the only community you have ever known? Everybody you know and love turn their back on you simply for your lack of belief in a superstition. To call them perverted continues to show just how hateful you are. How about you follow the teachings of your lord? JUDGE NOT

          • Kel


    • Kel

      Really how do you call a landlord a bigot and in the next paragraph brag about Bill Maher? He has to be the largest bigot around. He is rude, crude, nasty, and has no respect for wormen. He hates people of any organized religion. He is just plainly a sad man that I wouldn’t pay a penny to watch. He is not a comedian. A comedian is entertaining. This mad is just plain rude

  • lulu

    Science can not prove nor disprove the existence of God. If you don’t belive your an atheist if you do, your a mystic. What’s the meaning of life write you own Biblical story and find out, meanwhile, Let’s continue to pray for the Mets that they have good season and do the right thing by their fans..

    • ejones

      When the issue is the existence or non-existence of god, the only intellectually honest answer is “I don’t know.”

      Anything else is speculation and belief.

  • mitch

    The Yanks should post a similar one about the Mets…right by Citi Field…

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