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Ford Reaffirms Support for the LGBT Community, Denies Deal with AFA

WASHINGTON — In a statement released Dec. 14, Ford
Motor Company reaffirmed its commitment to its progressive
workplace policies, said it would place corporate
advertising in LGBT publications on behalf of all of its
brands, including Jaguar and Land Rover, and would
continue financial support for LGBT organizations and
events consistent with its business condition. In response,
a broad coalition of LGBT organizations issued a statement
commending Ford for its actions. Visit www.media.ford.com
to read Ford’s statement.
“We applaud Ford Motor for taking such a firm stand on
behalf of our community — pledging to continue support
for our community’s organizations and events, and increasing
— not decreasing — its advertising in our community’s
publications to include all Ford brands. This is a very
positive, welcome outcome,” said Matt Foreman, Executive
Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
The coalition, comprised of more than twenty LGBT
organizations, issued the following statement: “We welcome
today’s statement from Ford Motor Company and
commend their firm stance in support of inclusion. It is an
unequivocal reaffirmation of Ford’s historic commitment
to our community and the core American values of fairness
and equality. Moreover, it is conclusive proof of what Ford
leaders have repeatedly assured us — that there never was
any deal with anti-LGBT organizations concerning Ford’s
support for our community.
We are proud to be back in gear with Ford and look
forward to working with them in the years ahead.”
The controversy erupted on Dec. 1, 2005, when the
American Family Association (AFA) officially announced it
was dropping its threat of a boycott, saying Ford “heard our
concerns; they are acting on our concerns. We are pleased
with where we are.” According to the AFA and media
reports, in order to avoid a boycott, Ford allegedly agreed
to no longer run ads promoting Jaguar or Land Rover in the
gay press and no longer support gay events or organizations.
According to the AFA, Ford could continue running
Volvo ads in the gay press, but no longer tailor those ads to
the gay community (i.e., in the future such ads would be the
same ads that are run in the mainstream media, rather than
the crafting the ads to appeal to a gay readership).The next
day, a Ford spokesperson appeared to confirm an agreement
by saying the company would stop advertising its Jaguar and
Land Rover brands in gay publications. The AFA is an extremist
anti-LGBT organization that routinely threatens boycotts
against LGBT-supportive companies, television programs it
does not like, and even cartoon characters such as SpongeBob.
On Dec. 5, 18 leading LGBT organizations issued a
statement calling upon Ford to disavow any agreement with
AFA, to reaffirm its commitment to the LGBT community
and to meet with the LGBT community and resolve the
issue. As a result of that statement, Ford Motor executives
met with LGBT community representatives, including Task
Force Executive Director Matt Foreman, in Washington,
D.C., on Dec. 12. There, Ford said it would issue a statement
based on the topics discussed, and the comprehensive
statement released today was the result.

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