January 16, 2006, - 10:44 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Ford Motor Company is playing musical chairs with its position on gay advertising. But it cannot do so for much longer.
First, it began advertising in gay magazines, including The Advocate. Then, in response, groups for traditional values, like the American Family Association (AFA), boycotted Ford. Ford then pulled its ads from gay magazines. Next, gay groups threatened to boycott Ford. So, Ford announced it will begin advertising in gay publications again. Now, the AFA announced its boycott is back on.
If you’re as dizzy as we are, you should be. Clearly, Ford is trying to play both sides of the fence on a position in which neither side is dumb enough to be played. Ford got it itself into this position, in the first place, by choosing to advertise in gay publications. By doing so, the company played with matches, and it got burned. Now, Ford has to take a firm position and stay with it.
We think it’s interesting that some columnists in Detroit, which is part of Michigan’s reeling economy and highly dependent on Ford and other auto companies for jobs, are putting the onus on conservatives and the family values crowd, saying they should not take such a position in such bad economic times. (This is the position of Detroit Free Press columnist Tom Walsh, who consistently demonstrates his lack of principal by promoting Islamist economic interests.)
The AFA is about principles. And principles do not depend on whether or not the economy is good. And if jobs and the economy are the only concern, why is the onus on the AFA–and not the gay community–to end its boycott? A boycott by either group will hurt sales for Ford, but it won’t necessarily hurt the American auto industry, contrary to the claims of some.
A lot of straight people, who far outnumber gays, don’t exactly want to drive a “gay car.” Remember the gay-specific marketing of the Subaru, using Martina Navratilova as its spokesman? No straight human wanted to drive a Lesbaru.
Ford will have to take a stand and decide whether or not it will advertise in gay media–and accept the consequences of its decision. It cannot have it both ways.
Tags: Advocate, American Family Association, columnist, Detroit, Detroit Free Press, Ford, Ford Motor Company, gay advertising, gay car, gay media, Michigan, spokesman, The Advocate, Tom Walsh