Last week, we reported that Ford Motor Co. is in boiling-hot water with the gay community. The reason: the company's announcement that it is pulling its Land Rover and Jaguar advertising from GLBT publications, stripping gay-specific content from its Volvo ads and curtailing its future participation in and support of gay-related events and organizations. The move, seen by many as a slap in the face to GLBT car customers, came after a threatened boycott by - and a reportedly secret agreement with - the right-wing, anti-gay American Family Association, which opposes any support, corporate or otherwise, of gay and lesbian people.
Ford executives insist that its controversial decision was all about business and the bottom line - the AFA action was not a factor. According to an official statement, the company still claims its "commitment to diversity as an employer and corporate citizen remains unchanged." And yes, Ford still offers health and family benefits to its GLBT employees (something any decent company would do) and really is experiencing economic trials. But is the auto giant telling the whole truth here?
I don't think it is. And others agree.
After the announcement, AFA honcho Donald Wildmon crowed about his group's victory. Having lobbed his threat of a Dec. 1 boycott in late spring, his organization had time to talk with individual Ford dealers - likely fellow anti-gay fundamentalist Christians in large part - and convince those dealers to persuade their parent company to, in essence, smear the queers. Wildmon said those dealers did facilitate meetings between the AFA and Ford executives - particularly one gathering that took place Nov. 29 in Tupelo, MS, according to WardsAuto.com reporter Barbara McClellan - and the eventual decision followed, coming reportedly from Ford's "highest level."
Consider this as well: Arianna Huffington writes that the two Ford execs who did the heavy lifting on this are "former Bush staffer and major GOP donor named Ziad Ojakli, who was also the Senate liaison for the Bush-Cheney Transition Team, as well as a legislative assistant to Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), one of the Senate’s most right-wing members; and David Leitch, a former deputy general counsel to President George W. Bush, and currently the general counsel at Ford." Right. The executives come from the conservative-Christian-promoting administration that gave us the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment and works diligently to strip any hope of achieving legal equality from GLBT Americans.