[UPDATE (1 PM)]: Ford has agreed to no longer sponsor any gay events, and its spokesman now admits that the company has bowed completely to the American Taliban.]
Ford has decided that it would rather lose gay and gay-friendly business than face the wrath of the extreme fringe element of the Right Wing by agreeing to the demands of the American Family Association. Initially it was over the decision not to advertise in gay publications, but now we have learned that it’s over way more than just a few ads…
Here’s the info on Ford’s complete cave-in posted at AmericaBlog.
This is from WardsAuto.com, the publication that broke the Ford story last week, and it’s owned by Primedia, it’s a real industry publication:
Ford Motor Co.’s decision to cease advertising in gay publications for its Jaguar and Land Rover luxury brands is part of a truce between the auto maker and the American Family Assn. (AFA) to avert a threatened boycott by the right-wing Christian conservative group, Wardâ€šs learns….
As part of the latest agreement hammered out Nov. 29, sources confirm Volvo Cars will continue to advertise in the publications but will use generic ads not tailored to the gay community.
In addition, Ford has agreed not to sponsor any future gay and lesbian events but will continue to maintain its employee policies, such as same-sex partner benefits.
(Note: This is a subscription only publication.)
Gee, isn’t that swell. Ford agreed not to viciously revoke its benefits for all of its employees. Gosh, I’m so proud of them. Not to mention, if Ford is stating that it’s not revoking its benefits, then it sounds like the religious right wanted them to. Yet Ford told us that the issue was only about a few ads.
Damn…what must it feel like as a gay employee at Ford, to see your employer back away from public support of your community because of the likes of the AFA?
Eva over at Lloydletta has a great post up with more background, Ford Does More Self Inflicted Damage. She notes that Jerry Reynolds, who is an an influential Ford dealer in Garland, Texas, was the “broker” of the arrangement with the AFA officials and Ford, after his whining that many dealers were concerned about the AFA boycott.
Also, Eva points out that we should be all over Michigan’s Carl Levin, who is already trolling for a handout for the financially troubled automaker.
Meanwhile Ford is looking for a bailout from Washington, but they don’t want those words used.
They’re also asking for one rhetorical favor: Please don’t call the requests a bailout. “I don’t view it as a bailout,” Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) said.
“We’re not looking for a bailout,” agreed William C. Ford Jr., chairman of Ford Motor Co.
GM and Ford, if you add up their wish list of taxpayer pocketpicking, would cost tens of billions — far more than Chrysler received back (it garnered $1.5 billion in loan guarantees in 1979 and 1980).
Look, I don’t care if Levin’s a Dem, he needs to be asking some hard questions of Ford executives about this bedding down with the AmTaliban. Those are my tax dollars wants to use to guarantee that Ford stays afloat.
This is war.
As John noted, folks might want to contact your local Ford dealership to express your dismay at the decisions Ford corporate HQ is making, and to let them know where your next car won’t be purchased from.
Ford Motor Company
William Clay Ford, Jr., Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
800-232-5952 (TDD for the Hearing Impaired)
Ford Motor Company
Customer Relationship Center
P.O. Box 6248
Dearborn, MI 48126
The pain is just beginning. The bad PR is clearly hurting Ford, because AB’s got the Ford PR machine trolling in the comments. John chased the IP and found the post came from the automaker.
Below is a unity statement by LGBT groups that call on Ford to get its act together. I am sure after this latest bit of news, there will be more to releases come.
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. 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.
Freedom to Marry
Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
Human Rights Campaign
Mautner Project, the National Lesbian Health Organization
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC)
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network