After approximately one day of outrage, the 'Man in the High Castle' subway car ad campaign is no more, though who made the decision to stop it remains in doubt.
According to Deadline (which cites “sources”), the MTA elected to remove the WWII Axis power imagery from its subway cars “after some pressure from high up the Empire state and NYC food chain.” Very high up indeed: New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement that they should be removed, and Entertainment Weekly quoted MTA spokesperson Adam Lisberg as saying that New York governor Andrew Cuomo “asked the head of the MTA to make sure they were pulled.”
Variety, on the other hand, has a different MTA spokesperson, Kevin Ortiz, saying that “Amazon has just decided to pull the ads.”
Meanwhile, NBC News went right down the middle, saying that Amazon “asked for the shuttle train advertisements, but not the posters, to be removed.” (There are also 260 posters on the walls of subway stations throughout the city. It appears that those will stay up.)
Deadline also got a statement from Amazon (which had been silent on the matter until this point), which seems to lend credence to the decision being out of its hands: “Amazon Studios creates high-quality, provocative programming that spurs conversation … stories that society cares about often touch on important, thought-provoking topics. We will continue to bring this kind of storytelling to our customers.”
Not exactly an apology! One person involved with the show who does seem regretful over the whole thing is creator and showrunner Frank Spotnitz, who told EW that he had nothing to do with the campaign and wouldn't have given it the ok if he was asked.
“To put them out like that without the context was unfortunate,” Spotnitz said.
One thing is certain: The subway car ads got the show a lot of attention. In that sense, the campaign was a complete success — despite ending early.