A MESSAGE FROM GLAAD PRESIDENT NEIL G.
GIULIANO REGARDING FORD MOTOR
As many of you may know, GLAAD and other LGBT civil rights
organizations met with Ford Motor Company on Monday. Our meeting was
the culmination of two weeks' worth of conversations -- beginning with
a convening of movement leaders by GLAAD and the National Gay and
Lesbian Task Force -- to discuss widespread public speculation and
media reports that Ford was cutting back on its advertising and
marketing to the LGBT community in order to avoid a threatened boycott
by a defamatory anti-gay religious-extremist group called American
Family Association. Incensed by Ford's support for its gay and lesbian
employees and its outreach to the LGBT market, the AFA had been
threatening a boycott since early summer and had recently issued a
public statement claiming success in their efforts to change Ford's
Ford's letter today (which you can read at GLAAD.org
, along with GLAAD's release
on Ford's decision and a joint statement
issued by GLAAD and more than a dozen other LGBT organizations)
repudiates the AFA's false claims of victory over the auto maker.
The letter from Ford VP Joe W. Laymon reaffirms Ford's "principles of
nondiscrimination and inclusiveness," confirms that Ford's brands will
continue to create advertising tailored to effectively reach the LGBT
audience, confirms that Ford will continue to support LGBT community
events, and announces that Ford will be running ads in LGBT
publications in 2006 that include not only Jaguar and Land Rover, but
all eight of Ford's vehicle brands.
Ford's letter has made it clear: intimidation and threats by a handful
of anti-gay radicals will not dictate their policies, their marketing
strategies and their relationship with the LGBT market and community.
Their message today signals a strong commitment by Ford to fairness, to
inclusion, and to a quality relationship with our community.
Ford did the right thing here, both for its
brand and for its bottom line. When 90 percent of Americans support
employment non-discrimination, when 80 percent support military service
by gay Americans, when six out of 10 Americans favor legal protections
for gay and lesbian couples, it's also clear that Ford's policies are
in line with the values and the inclusion that most Americans support.
The events of the past two weeks offered us a golden educational
opportunity. It's important for corporations and media companies alike
to understand that these anti-gay groups with the deceptive names do
not speak for America's families. These extremists want to define
America by how many people they can leave behind. They want to define
the family by how many people they can exclude from it. And as we've
seen time and again, they seek to advance that agenda by threats and
intimidation against companies, elected officials, judges, media
outlets and anyone else who doesn't shun LGBT Americans and our
The Ford controversy underscored something else as well. The AFA's
defamatory attacks have once again engaged our community, strengthened
our unity and reminded each of us that our voices make a difference.
Corporate America has been watching this case study unfold. They know
of our community's loyalty, of our desire to support those who support
us, and of the power of our community's voices. And they saw the
leaders of our movement join together to amplify those voices -- a
collaborative spirit that, as a new leader in this movement, has been
immensely gratifying to experience and one I hope we will be able to
build on in the months and years to come.
Make no mistake: Ford's stand today -- like those made by Microsoft,
Wells Fargo and so many others before it -- sends a strong message to
the rest of corporate America that there is never a reason to cave to
the repugnant demands, threats and intimidation tactics of anti-gay
It is through
your commitment to equality and your generous support that GLAAD has
been able to effectively advocate on our community's behalf throughout
the Ford controversy. Thank you for raising your voice, for standing
together as a community, and for your continuing support of GLAAD.
P.S. Please take a moment today to send an e-mail or letter of thanks
to Ford. Visit GLAAD.org
for more info!