American Family or ‘Anti-Fag’ Association: The Conservative Right’s Schoolyard Bully Meets The Progressive Market’s Purchasing Muscle

David Jasper Feb 7, 2006

At the end of January NBC canceled its new series, The Book of Daniel, after only four episodes. The program featured two openly gay characters. Many stations throughout the nation had initially refused to carry the show.

The Christian right’s American Family Association (AFA) threatened to boycott advertisers who promoted products during the show’s airtime. They claimed to have gotten more than 600,000 emails sent to NBC to protest the contents of this program. Although NBC stated that “The Book of Daniel” was cancelled due to poor ratings, the AFA claimed the cancellation as a campaign victory.

The AFA has also been in discussions with Ford to sever ties with gay community markets. Since May 2005, AFA has been threatening a boycott if talks failed to produce results. In early December, the AFA claimed that it forced Ford to cancel ads that it had planned to run with LGBT media.

Indeed Ford had notified gay media outlets, through its ad agency, that it was withdrawing ads for its Jaguar and Land Rover brands around the same time that the AFA had pressured Ford.

In mid-December Ford reversed this decision after meeting with more than 19 LGBT civil rights groups in Washington, including the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. A Ford spokesperson claimed that the termination of advertising relationships with gay-oriented media was simply a “business decision” and that conservative Christian groups played no role in cutting these ads.

However, after meeting with gay and lesbian rights advocates, Ford stated that it would advertise not only Land Rover, Jaguar and Volvo with LGBT media outlets, as it had previously done, but all Ford brands.

In early January, the AFA threatened Ford with another boycott if the decision is not reversed. During 2004, the American Family Association and Focus on the Family boycotted Proctor and Gamble because of its support to repeal a law in Cincinnati that prevented the city from enacting legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The AFA alleged that it was able to gain 300,000 people not to purchase P&G products because of the company’s stance. P&G said that it would not advocate discrimination regardless of the boycott. Similar boycott threats have occurred to both Kraft Foods, for its sponsorship of the 2006 Gay Games, and Disney over Gay Days at Disney World.

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