- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Homosexual activist groups are demanding that Ford Motor Co. explain its decision to pull advertising from publications targeted to homosexuals after the American Family Association threatened to boycott the nation’s second-largest automaker.

“We are deeply dismayed by reports in the media and otherwise that the Ford Motor Co. has entered into a confidential agreement with the extremist American Family Association that requires Ford to stop advertising in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media,” reads a statement signed by 17 groups.

“If there is an agreement with AFA, we expect Ford to disavow it. We expect Ford to publicly reaffirm its historic support for our community. And, we expect Ford to meet with LGBT representatives this week to resolve these concerns.”

A Ford spokesman called the removal of ads for Land Rover and Jaguar a “business decision,” not a response to the AFA, a conservative pro-family group with 2.9 million members.

The development was first reported last week by wardsauto.com, a Detroit-based auto industry news Web site.

The AFA condemned Ford for, among other things, its support of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), saying “Ford believes the effort to legalize homosexual marriage is so important that the company is giving GLAAD up to $1,000 for every Jaguar or Land Rover purchased this year.”

The AFA met with several Ford officials on Nov. 29 at its headquarters in Tupelo, Miss. In the meeting were David Leitch, general counsel and vice president for Ford, and Ziad Ojakli, group vice president for corporate affairs, along with a group of Ford auto dealers who struck an agreement.

AFA Chairman Donald Wildmon said the boycott, which was called in May but suspended after a group of Ford dealers intervened, is off.

“They’ve heard our concerns; they are acting on our concerns,” Mr. Wildmon said. “We are ending the boycott of Ford. While we still have a few differences with Ford, we feel that our concerns are being addressed in good faith and will continue to be addressed in the future.

“The dealers were very helpful in bridging a gap and opening a line of communication between AFA and Ford. The dealers are basically our kind of people who share many of our concerns.”

The specifics of the truce between the two parties were not detailed, and the AFA declined to comment further. The AFA has shut down a Web site it had constructed for the boycott, which was operational before the Nov. 29 meeting and listed the group’s grievances with Ford.

The AFA owns and operates a Christian radio network, American Family Radio, with 200 stations and affiliates in 37 states. It also publishes the AFA Journal, with circulation approaching 200,000.

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