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Ford Calls Off Gay Advertising, then Reverses Itself

Which Models Will It Feature: Explorer? Freestyle? Mustang? Will It Bring Back the Probe?

Does American Family Association Plan to Boycott Other Gay Products????

Hey, What About Better World Club? We Recognize Domestic Partners. And We Surcharge Gas Guzzlers. (How Gay Is That?)

December 16, 2005. Ford Motor Company has reversed its decision to pull some advertisements from gay publications after rumours that it had done so in a "secret deal" with an American conservative Christian group led to sharp condemnation from rights groups.

"It is clear there is a misperception about our intent," Ford said in a letter to seven rights groups yesterday."As a result we have decided to run corporate ads in these targeted publications that will include not only Jaguar/Land Rover but all eight of Ford's vehicle brands."

The controversy placed the struggling automaker in the midst of a debate on social values it had hoped to avoid and which observers said it could not win.

Ford, which has a solid record on supporting gay rights, was targeted earlier this year for a boycott by the powerful American Family Association, which recently made headlines for forcing US retailers to hang "Merry Christmas" signs.

The association - which had created a now-defunct website castigating Ford's ads in the gay press - claimed a victory on December 1 saying "our concerns are being addressed".

The story soon spread from blogs and the gay press into the mainstream media.

Ford denied that any deal had been made and insisted that the decision to cease advertising its Jaguar and Land Rover brands in gay publications was part of a broad restructuring of the advertising budgets of the two struggling luxury brands.

It also noted that its Volvo brand would continue to advertise in the gay press.

But a number of rights organisations asked Ford to reaffirm its commitment to gay rights.

Ford's chairman did just that on Tuesday, issuing a statement which said: "We value all people - regardless of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and cultural or physical differences."

From: Agence France-Presse