As we wrap up yet another year (and as I prepare to name the 2005 Ginandtacos.com Cocksucker of the Year) I want to recap my favorite news story of the last 12 months, one that received relatively little mainstream coverage.
The American Family Association (AFA) is a typical organized political smear campaign led by self-promoting men of the cloth and legions of sheltered suburban housewives. They specialize in boycotts. Check out their website. They have about a dozen boycotts going at any given moment. Kraft (for sponsoring the Gay Games), Old Navy (for advertising during "Desperate Housewives" – not because their clothes are made by pre-pubescent children. This is of no concern to the American Family Association), Hardee's (for having Paris Hilton as a spokeswoman), and more. One of the most recent boycott targets was Ford. Ford even earned its own website, boycottford.com (which, for reasons that will be clear in a minute, now simply redirects to the AFA site).
Ford committed the crime of promoting the "homosexual agenda." Its main offenses were advertising in gay publications and including material in their corporate policies about, you know, not discriminating against gay employees or potential customers.
Boycotts work. They really do. Back in 2004, when several TV stations were being required to run a slander film on John Kerry shortly before the election, I wrote every single one of the top 20 advertisers at my local affiliate stations and promised to start a boycott if they ran ads during the program. About 90% of them wrote back immediately and said they would not. In turn, the TV stations refused to run the movie. Yes, thanks to the internet, small bands of ideologues can create an anti-Corporation Y campaign out of thin air. And businesses are afraid of that prospect. Very afraid.
The AFA knows this, and it is quite used to saying "Jump!" and hearing "How high?" in response. Just ask Disney. The AFA's nine year Disney boycott ended only with a major shakeup in high level management and a withdrawl from Mirimax distribution (home of films such as Kids and Dogma). Let's face it, no major business wants to end up in the crosshairs of thousands of hysterical, none-too-bright Bible thumpers who have nothing better to do with their time. So the Ford announcement was expected to drop the company to its knees. In fact, the AFA was so cocksure that they released a statement of "victory," declaring that Ford was pulling all ads targeted at gay publications.
Better luck next time, AFA.
In fact, Ford decided (admittedly, after some waffling) that they would expand their advertising to include more of their brand names, more publications, and more explicit tailoring of their efforts to the gay community.
An isolated incident? Last summer Ginandtacos.com pal James Dobson announced that Focus on the Family would close its accounts with Wells Fargo bank (and institute a boycott) because:
* Since the 1980s, Wells Fargo has given more than $14 million to organizations serving the GLBT community nationwide.
* The company has donated to several local non-profits and national organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
* 2004 and 2005 HRC Corporate Equality Index: Perfect score of “100”
* 2003 Diversity Inc.com: #7 Top Companies for GLBT Employees
* 2000 GLAAD Fairness Award
* 2000 Advocate Magazine: Top 10 Workplaces for GLBT Employees
Heinous sins indeed. The company's response? "Wells Fargo firmly believes it is our responsibility to serve every segment of our community, and we view our support for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community as part of our broader commitment to diversity." Translation: Fuck you, James. Most of your followers hoard their Dairy Queen paychecks in penny jars under their mattresses anyway.
For the first time, 2005 saw corporate America having to choose between discriminatory bigots and those wacky homos – and choosing the latter. Maybe it's a cold business decision and gays simply outnumber right-wing peabrains today. Who knows. But hopefully it's a sign of things to come in the future. Nothing warms my heart more than large, powerful organizations telling James Dobson and his pals "Sorry, we don't negotiate with terrorists." Maybe Bush is right in that regard.
Humans 2, fascists 0. Ginandtacos.com looks forward to the day when it too is boycotted by Focus on the Anus, the AFA, or some equally reactionary, self-aggrandizing group of theologians.