Media: Is It OK for “LGBT-Friendly” Companies to Support Fox News?
I don’t usually click Facebook ads. As the guys here can attest, if you list yourself as a man interested in men, pretty much all you get are ads for laser hair removal, dubious gay dating websites, and Bonobos ads that talk presumptuously about how your boyfriend’s ass would look in their khakis.
Earlier this week, though, I saw an ad from an organization called DropFox, asking me to click to show support for an action calling on Orbitz to withdraw support from Fox News. Bearing no great love for holier-than-thou manipulative sideshow anger-theater, I clicked.
The link took me to Orbitz’s Facebook page, where they had a very different take on the matter. Their top wall post was a release dated May 20th, decrying DropFox for launching what Orbitz termed a “smear campaign.” The travel company stated its deep commitment to the LGBT community, and pointed out numerous recent commendations it had received for work with the community from such sources as the HRC and GLAAD. Finally Orbitz made it clear that it had no plans to withdraw support from Fox, citing that they’d received similar indignant communications when they started buying ad space on Logo and the company hadn’t yielded then either.
Frankly, that made sense to me. Orbitz has a long history of really great outreach and support to the LGBT community, and you can’t blame a company for trying to make money, right? I tweeted my sentiments on the subject, and considered my duty as a freethinking homosexual to have been done.
Through the magic of hashtags, though, I got a pretty swift response from a representative of DropFox – Angelo Carusone. Angelo was at pains to give me a broader context to the situation than Orbitz presented in their release, and so we jumped on the phone to see if he was an over-zealous nit-picky frothy-mouthed activist or if I was missing something.
DropFox’s main objective, Angelo stated, was to attach consequences to Fox News’ ridiculous behavior. In the eyes of his organization there is a separation between politics and human decency, meaning they see asking Fox to be beholden to the truth and to refrain from slander and propaganda as being beyond partisanship. Angelo shared DropFox’s original letter to Orbitz (made in conjunction with GLAAD, Courage Campaign, and Equality Matters) which explicitly recognizes Orbitz as a role model in LGBT advertising and points out that it is precisely because of this leadership that Orbitz should be more circumspect about their relationship with Fox.
Orbitz seems pretty pissed about the whole thing, and I understand their feelings of betrayal, but DropFox has got them on this one. Orbitz has profited from reaching out directly to LGBT consumers, and what they’re feeling now is the backlash on a miscalculation.
Just because Orbitz puts a gay guy in one of their ads doesn’t mean that they’re actually helping the gay community. To be fair they’ve done a lot more work in the LGBT space than just putting a gay guy in an ad, but if you make the case that you’re a gay-friendly company then you’ve got to actually be a gay-friendly company. Financially supporting a network that compares homosexuality to bestiality and necrophilia doesn’t fit that bill.
In the broader context, too, DropFox’s mission resonates with me. Fox News stirs up viewership with fanaticism and lies, and they only way they’ll learn the consequences of being total assholes is when the people who pay their bills (advertisers) get tired of being associated publicly with assholes.
So, I hear ya Orbitz – conservative people gotta fly too. But you can’t have it both ways. Either you’re supportive of your faithful LGBT customers or you’re a dispassionate moneymaking machine, but if it’s the latter don’t try and cozy up to me at the next GLAAD Media Awards.
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