December 12, 2005
The American Family Association began trumpeting a victory over Ford Motor
Corporation this week, claiming that Ford had averted a boycott by agreeing
to its demands that it stop being a gay friendly corporation.
Ford spokesdroids seemed to initially agree with the AFA's assessment of the
situation, but as anger erupted around them from all quarters of the
civilized world, Ford began to spin it as a mere business decision. But as
industry publication Wards Auto began publishing articles based on sources
privy to the negotiations, it became increasingly uncertain just who the spin
was meant to fool. The southern Ford dealers that demanded Ford meet with
the AFA seemed to know perfectly well what was going on, and were more then
willing to say so to industry insiders. Then after Ford sent an email to its
gay employee group, stating that it regretted that some of its advertising to
the gay community had offended people, there seemed little doubt that Ford
had indeed crafted an agreement with the AFA, that suddenly neither seemed
willing to discuss in public.
But as of this week the broad outlines of it seem clear: For will no longer
advertise most of its brands in gay community publications, and the one brand
it will continue to market directly to the gay community, will only do so
by way of generic advertising, not advertising tailored to speak directly to
gay and lesbian people. Ford will furthermore stop all sponsoring gay events
and will no longer participate in fundraising activity for the gay
community. These terms were apparently worked out with the help of David
Leitch, and Ziad Ojakli. Mr. Leitch is general counsel and a senior vice
president at Ford. Mr. Ojakli is Ford's vice-president of corporate
Both men have connections to the Bush Administration.
Ominously, AFA's Special Projects Director Randy Sharp, in a comment to Wards
Auto, said that the AFA still had one issue outstanding with Ford, which
was "non-negotiable". "We've made it very clear" he said, "that if Ford does
not move on this one issue, the AFA will reinstate the boycott with renewed
Ford, at least for the moment, is still offering its gay and lesbian
employees domestic partner benefits. Any guesses as to what that one
outstanding non-negotiable issue is?
Copyright © December 12, 2005 by Bruce Garrett
All Rights Reserved.
Bruce Garrett Cartoon. Weekly gay editorial cartoon.
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