Wednesday, December 14, 2005

SoVo: Ford reaffirms commitment to diversity "Ford Motor Company issued a statement Wednesday reaffirming its commitment to diversity and pledging to advertise all of its brands in gay publications. The announcement was the second by the company since a meeting on Monday between a coalition of gay rights groups and the automaker.

The statement was in response to reports last week that Ford made a deal with the conservative American Family Association to cease some advertising in gay publications and support for gay organizations to avoid a boycott. Media reports said Ford had agreed to not advertise its Jaguar and Land Rover brands in gay publications.

"It is clear there is a misconception about our intent," said Joe Laymon, a Ford V.P., in the Dec. 14 statement. "As a result we have decided to run ads in these target publications that will include not only Jaguar and Land Rover, but all eight of Ford’s brands."

Representatives of the gay organizations that met with Ford praised the company’s actions in a joint statement.

"It is an unequivocal reaffirmation of Ford’s historic commitment to our community and the core American values of fairness and equality," the statement said. "Moreover, it is conclusive proof of what Ford leaders have repeatedly assured us — that there never was any deal with anti-LGBT organizations concerning Ford’s support for our community."

"The most important issue here is that Ford was not intimidated [by the AFA]," said Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, in an interview Wednesday. "It sends a message to the rest of corporate America."

The first statement issued by Ford, hours after meeeting with gay leaders on Monday, reaffirmed the automaker's commitment to diversity but stopped short of reversing its decision to pull advertising from gay publications."


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