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Ford Pulls Gay Ads But Reasons Unclear


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Ford Pulls Gay Ads But Reasons Unclear

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: December 5, 2005 3:00 pm ET, Updated 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) Ford Motor Company has pulled most of its advertising from LGBT media companies after a threatened boycott by the American Family Association but whether the two are related is unclear.

The AFA, which fights gay issues across the country, is nevertheless claiming victory.

The conservative Christian group launched a nationwide boycott of Ford in May over the automaker's support for LGBT issues. (story) Weeks later it put the boycott on hold after dealers asked for time to see if the AFA complaints "could be addressed by them in cooperation with officials from Ford Motor Company." (story)

Late last week Ford, through its ad agency, began notifying gay media outlets that it was canceling all ads for Jaguar and Land Rover but would continue, at least for now, to run ads for Volvo. The giant automaker owns all three brands.

AFA immediately declared victory over Ford.

"They've heard our concerns; they are acting on our concerns," said AFA founder and chairman Donald E. Wildmon in a media statement.

"We are pleased with where we are," the statement said. "Obviously there are still some small matters of difference, as people will always have, but generally speaking we are pleased with the results -- and therefore the boycott that had been suspended [is] now officially ended."

A Ford spokesperson would say only that the cancellations were "a business decision", noting that it is still running ads for Volvo. However a recognized authority in the advertising industry, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told 365Gay.com that the decision to end advertising in the gay media was made "at the highest level" and was in reaction to the AFA threat.

In a statement 19 LGBT civil rights groups they were "dismayed" by the reports and demanded a meeting with the company.

"If there is an agreement with AFA, we expect Ford to disavow it," the statement said.

"We expect Ford to publicly reaffirm its historic support for our community. And, we expect Ford to meet with LGBT representatives this week to resolve these concerns."

Ford like the other big three car makers are facing a cash crunch in the aftermath of declining sales.

Earlier this year the AFA took aim at Kraft Foods - stopping just short of calling for a full boycott - for sponsoring the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago. (story)

The organization began a campaign against Proctor and Gamble in a similar way last year after the Cincinnati-based P&G supported the repeal of an anti-gay law in that city. When the company did not cave in to their demands that it reverse its position AFA began a boycott. (story)

In April AFA declared victory over Proctor & Gamble after the company ended most of its advertising in the gay media. (story) The group claimed that more than 300,000 people had signed pledges not to buy P&G products.

The effect on the company is believed to be one of the major reasons Microsoft decided to withdraw its support of a gay rights bill in Washington following a meeting with a conservative Christian leader. (story) Following outrage from the company's gay workers and LGBT rights groups in Washington the company reversed course again and announced it would support gay rights measures in the future. (story)

Last weekend another Conservative Christian group, Focus on the Family, announced it was withdrawing its funds from Wells Fargo because of the banks involvement in pro-gay causes. (story)

©365Gay.com 2005


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