The right kind of rollover from Ford

Facing a backlash from gay rights groups, the automaker changes course on a decision to pull its ads from gay publications.

By Tim Grieve
Published December 15, 2005 2:44PM (EST)

First it was Microsoft. Now it's Ford.

Faced with a backlash from gay rights advocates, Ford Motor Co. has reversed its decision -- made under pressure from the conservative American Family Association -- to withdraw most of its advertising from publications aimed at gay and lesbian audiences.

Ford's flip-flop-flip is even more dramatic than the double-reverse Microsoft pulled on a Washington state gay rights measure earlier this year. In a letter Wednesday, Ford said that it would not only renew advertisements for its Jaguar and Land Rover lines in gay-themed magazines but also add advertisements for its other brands as well. Ford Vice President Joe Laymon explained: "It is my hope that this will remove any ambiguity about Ford's desire to advertise to all important audiences and put this particular issue behind us."

The American Family Association trumpeted Ford's response to a threatened boycott by the group earlier this month. What does AFA have to say for itself now? Nothing. According to the New York Times, a spokesman for the AFA said the group has no comment on Ford's change of heart.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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