Ford pulls ads from gay media facing AFA boycott

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Facing a threatened boycott from the American Family Association, Ford Motor Company pulled its advertising from gay publications early this week. The American Family Association (AFA) quickly claimed a cultural victory after Ford made the decision. The AFA was threatening to boycott Ford because of its previous support for certain gay civil rights associations, such as the Human Rights Campaign, and advertising in the gay media in publications such as The Advocate.

In June, the AFA announced that it would postpone a boycott when Ford agreed to negotiate with the organization. The negotiations were organized by Ford Executives Ziad Ojakli and David Leitch, both of whom previously held important posts in the Bush White House.

"They've heard our concerns; they are acting on our concerns. We are pleased with where we are," said AFA’s chairman Donald Wildmon. "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."

According to the AFA’s Web site, the list of demands included that Ford and all of its brands stop donating money, merchandise, and endorsements to pride celebrations and groups such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. HRC, GLAAD, and the Task Force are expected to release statements by close of business on Friday.

The AFA ended in May what is considered a largely ineffective nine-year boycott of The Walt Disney Co. The boycott had been launched over its holding of gay-related events at its theme parks and for giving employees with same-sex domestic partners benefits equal to those with other-sex partners.