US motor car manufacturer, Ford, has come under fire for allegedly bowing to conservative groups and pulling advertising in gay publications. The company had been facing a boycott by the American Family Association (AFA).
The boycott threat was launched in May, in a bid to stop the company from targeting lesbian and gay car buyers, after which the company and the AFA met to discuss the issue. In June the AFA suspended the boycott in light of the negotiations. Finally, last week, Ford said that it will stop advertising its brands in gay media, with the exception of its Sweden-based Volvo brand.
In response, a unity statement issued by a number of gay and lesbian organisations in the USA, says: “We are deeply dismayed by reports in the media and otherwise that the Ford Motor Company has entered into a confidential agreement with the extremist American Family Association (AFA) that requires Ford to stop advertising in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media”.
It added, “If there is an agreement with AFA, we expect Ford to disavow it. 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 has denied that it caved in to the AFA’s tactics and that the decision was a simple business one. “The decision with regard to advertising was a business decision,” a spokesman told The Associated Press. The company has also said that its employee non-discrimination policies will not change.
The AFA however claimed victory last week Thursday and called off its threatened boycott of Ford. “They’ve heard our concerns; they are acting on our concerns. We are pleased with where we are,” said Donald Wildmon, the AFA’s chairman, in a statement.
In it not known if Ford’s new advertising policy is limited to the USA or will also apply to its advertising around the world.