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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Maybe Ford didn't caveafter all....

Reality Check: Ford Still Pro-Gay Post-Boycott

If you're not a very careful reader, you might think that Ford Motor Co. has agreed to stop marketing its cars to gay consumers, and to generally cease and desist any activities meant to benefit or win favor with gay people.
That's because the ferociously anti-gay American Family Association, which has been boycotting Ford for two years now, unilaterally declared victory on Monday.

"I have some good news for you!" wrote chairman Donald E. Wildmon in a message to members. "AFA is suspending its two year boycott of Ford Motor Company. The conditions of the original agreement presented in fall 2005 have been met."

Those conditions, as laid out at the time by AFA, included demands that Ford stop advertising in gay-focused media outlets and stop donating to groups that support gay marriage or gay pride parades. Wildmon's announcement was covered by dozens of media outlets including BusinessWeek, Brandweek and the Chicago Tribune.

But Ford spokesman Jim Cain insists the automaker had made no such promises. "I can tell you there was not a negotiated settlement to this boycott," he says, sounding somewhat mystified by AFA's triumphalism.

While Ford has scaled back some of the marketing and philanthropy AFA objects to, any such decreases were merely part of a broader retrenchment in response to dismal market conditions, says Cain. "We've been in real financial difficulties. There's been reduced spending in lots of areas."

But, he adds, Ford continues to be involved with groups such as PFLAG and Human Rights Campaign, both of which agitate for gay marriage.

In that case, what made AFA think it had won? An AFA spokeswoman said Wildmon was traveling, and she was unable to speak on his behalf. "The only information I have is what's in the press release."
neener. neener. neener.

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