A number of advertisements featuring gay themes have caused a ruckus in the US.
The conservative American Family Association (AFA) has come out against a new Pepsi ad, which it claims intends “to promote the gay lifestyle”.
The ad for the popular soft drink shows two men encouraging a shy male friend to approach women at a bar.
When the man finally walks to the bar after drinking a can of Pepsi, he surprises his friends by ignoring the women and instead chatting up an attractive man.
This is not the first time the AFA has clashed with Pepsi. In January, it called for a boycott of the company because its PepsiCo Foundation had contributed funds towards pro-gay organisations.
The AFA has in the past instituted boycotts with disputed success against companies such as Campbell’s Soup, Disney, McDonald’s, Kraft and Ford for their support of gay causes.
In Los Angeles a local television station has refused to air a paid television ad, supporting same-sex marriage rights, during the widely-watched broadcast of the American football Super Bowl game.
The station, KNBC, said that it had shown the ad to the legal department of the National Football League which rejected it for being an “advocacy” advertisement – a category they claim to exclude.
The rejected thirty-second public service announcement produced by GetToKnowUsFirst.org features two married African American men raising five children.
The organisation said that the station nevertheless aired advocacy ads for other causes during the broadcast.
“We are disappointed that this ad couldn’t reach an audience with images of our families during one of the most watched programming events of the year,” said Neil G. Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “GLAAD is calling on KNBC to meet with GLAAD and GetToKnowUsFirst.org to discuss why this message would be rejected and to remedy this situation.”
In related news, a promotional online spot for the television sports network ESPN has been removed from its website after complaints that the ad was offensive to gays.
The ad featured basketball star Shaquille O’Neal and sports commentator Mike Breen. In the ad O’Neal tells Breen that he’s “disgusting” and a “weirdo” for calling a fist bump between two players a “fist kiss.”
The television network replied to the complaints by saying:
“…we understand your perspective on this ad and would like to apologise to the members of the gay community. In addition, we have decided to remove the ad from the campaign’s online executions.
“ESPN has a long-standing tradition of supporting diversity in the workplace and beyond. We are fully committed to continuing a dialogue that welcomes and recognises diverse perspectives.”