Friday, December 09, 2005

West Hollywood officials write Ford concerning gay ads & the anti-gay American Family Association.

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From News: Weho Politicians Blast Ford Gay Ad Decision by Matt Johns, Los Angeles Bureau Posted: December 9, 2005 1:00 pm ET (West Hollywood, California) The mayor and mayor pro tem of West Hollywood have blasted Ford Motor Corporation Chair William Ford for the company's decision to end its advertising in the LGBT media. In a strongly worded letter Mayor Abbe Land and Mayor Pro Tem John Heilman accuse Ford of bowing to "pressure from a blatantly prejudiced, anti-family group; ironically self-titled the American Family Association (AFA)." West Hollywood is the only city in the nation with where a majority of the citizens are gay. "By bending to the will of an organization like the AFA, the Ford Motor Company has aligned itself with a group that uses fear and promotes bigotry," the letter said. "American families come in all shapes, sizes and colors and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their families are just another example of our nation's rich diversity." Ford began dropping its advertising this week after a threatened boycott by the American Family Association. (story) The company maintains the decision was a "purely a business decision," but came after the company met with AFA leaders at Ford's Dearborn, Michigan headquarters. The AFA immediately claimed victory and Ford has not disputed that assertion. The letter to Ford from Land and Heilman was made public Friday and notes AFA's long history of anti-gay rhetoric. The letter notes, "AFA founder and Chairman Don Wildmon once included this emotional appeal in a direct mail fundraising piece: 'For the sake of our children and society, we must oppose the spread of homosexual activity! Just was we must oppose murder, stealing, and adultery! Since homosexuals cannot reproduce, the only way for them to breed is to recruit! And who are their targets for recruitment? Children!'" A copy of Land and Heilman's letter was sent to Hornburg Jaguar and Land Rover a Ford dealer in West Hollywood. The Commercial Closet Association, which educates marketers and ad agencies about the LGBT community, said boycotts against companies that support gays have had little effect. "Boycott threats by anti-gay groups have proven over the years to have no measurable or adverse sales impact on targeted companies, including years-long efforts against American Airlines and Disney. As it has always been, success in the marketplace is dictated by the effectiveness of marketing strategies -- not approval from bigoted organizations," said Michael Wilke, the executive director of the Commercial Closet in a statement Friday. Following the Ford announcement 19 LGBT civil rights groups demanded a meeting with company representatives. Ford has not responded. Original source