31 December 2005

Christmas Present #1: FoMoCo tells AFA to cram their boycott

Well, this one was a little early, but sweet, nonetheless. After Ford Motor Company decided to pull its Jaguar and Land Rover advertising from gay-centered publications, Don Wildmon and the rest of the hate-mongers at the American Family Association couldn't resist crowing about it being in response to their threatened boycott and a direct result of meetings they had with Ford representatives. Not surprisingly, Ford tried to spin their actions as "a business decision" that had nothing to do with the AFA.

No one bought it.

In short order, thanks to a Delta Force-like rapid response from John Aravosis and the crew at AmericaBlog, Ford found themselves confronted with not only the venom the AFA is known for, but also the on-the-record statements of its own employees that belied their "business decision" line of shit:
" In a Nov. 29 meeting at AFA headquarters in Tupelo, MS, David Leitch, general counsel and vice president for Ford, and Ziad Ojakli, group vice president-Corporate Affairs, along with Dallas-area Ford dealer Jerry Reynolds, hammered out a deal...A Ford spokesman says the two parties had a “broad discussion” and deferred to the AFA to announce the reconciliation details."
After days of coordinated email and telephone traffic that filled voicemail accounts and forced the closure of email addresses, FoMoCo not only reversed itself on the Janguar/Land Rover decision, but pledged to expand advertising to include all eight of its nameplates. Just this morning Ford was commended and the AFA slapped in an editorial in the Detroit Free Press:
"It's bad business, and just wrong, to shun customers because of their sexual orientation, race, creed, gender or culture.

That's a lesson the American Family Association has yet to learn...The suggestion that the company caved to the AFA worried Ford executives enough to announce that they would run corporate-wide ads in gay publications featuring all of their brands. A Ford executive cited a "misperception" about the company's intent -- a perception that AFA, to its ultimate detriment, helped to create.

The group, which touts itself as being pro-family but spends much of its energy venting against homosexuals, has threatened another boycott. But boycotts based on bigotry rarely succeed, partly because they prompt protests from those who believe in equality.

Ford did the right, and smart, thing by not allowing consumers to believe it was bullied into shunning loyal customers to satisfy an organization's prejudices. It set the right example for corporations, customers and citizens."
"Boycotts based on bigotry rarely succeed." Gotta love it. Nothing like seeing someone calling a spade a spade, and pointing out just what these "pro-family" groups are really about. All in all, a well-deserved lump of coal for Don Wildmon and the rest of the Evangeliban.

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