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25 May 2011, 2:00 pm 11 Comments

Media: Is It OK for “LGBT-Friendly” Companies to Support Fox News?

This post was submitted by Topher Burns

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.

(Screenshot of the ad that popped up on my Facebook page)

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.

(Gayorbitz.com's logo)

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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11 Comments »

  • Dan Martin said:

    I believe there is a limit to what we can expect of companies. After all, the companies that do anything to support the LGBT community must be profitable, or they will not be around to support us.

    As long as we get the word out about companies that blatantly discriminate against LGBT, and members of our community vote with their dollars, we can affect change.

  • Kate said:

    Thank you for writing this article…I’m heartbroken to hear about this…and I’m offended by the new release. And since they want “open and honest” discussion on the subject, I’ve flat out asked them if they are giving money to Fox News…still waiting for an answer.

  • Dave said:

    If DropFox or the NewGayWay.net had done any fact checking they would have discovered that Orbitz has not been on Fox News for months.

  • Political Roundup 5/25/11 | Subterfuge Magazine said:

    [...] Media: Is it OK for “LGBT-friendly” companies to support Fox News — This is short and sweet. It does a good job of explaining the issue between DropFox and Orbitz. [...]

  • Freddo said:

    Fox News should be dropped just on the mere fact that they lie and incite hatred not just only of LGBT, but of anyone who does concede to their beliefs. Just in the dropped in the name of decency.

    And to Topher Burns: “over-zealous nit-picky frothy-mouthed activist.” Really? Is that what fighting for equality is called these days? There was a lot a nit-picky frothing at the mouth that has gotten the LGBT community to where it is now, and we’re not nearly as equal as we were back in the 70s. Straights in power merely act to keep us quiet. It’s great that many in our society are more accepting and have seen the injustices held against us. Yet too many of them are not in office. So the time to partisanship has yet to come. We still need a stubborn and relentless frothing, before we could rest. It’s unfortunate, but true.

  • patty said:

    It’s very simple. Orbitz supports LGBT customers because it is profitable. If it weren’t, they wouldn’t do it. That’s why it’s important to let them and other corporations know that their support of Fox News is harmful to their image and ultimately will hurt their profits. It’s the only thing that will work and it needs to happen across the board. Fox News is profitable mainly due to advertising. They spew hate and lies not just on LGBT issues but on race, on economic issues, and much else.

  • Karen said:

    Wow, what a change of opinion.
    I personally think you are doing yourself no favors supporting a boycott of FOX.
    I have relatives and friends in the gay community and some are conservative.
    I watch FOX daily and I have never seen examples of these anti gay sentiments you speak of. I think you should back up your claims with examples.
    In December on MSNBC, I watched Cenk Uygur interview Christopher Barron,
    GOProud chairman, and it showed how intolerant the Gay Community is of gay conservatives or those with a differing viewpoint. I was alarmed at how rude and disrespectful Cenk Uygur was to Christopher Barron. I look at this dropfox campaign in the same light and it doesn’t reflect nicely upon the gay community.

    The dropsfox campaign is purely political and it is trying to silence a conservative viewpoint.

  • GayConservative said:

    I have to echo the words of “Karen” who posted that she has never seen FOX’s alleged blatant anti-gay messages of which the articles speaks. I, too, watch FOX and have yet to see the supposed outright criticism of the gay community and/or the comparisons to bestiality. And yet, so many in the gay community feel justified in attacking the news channel, when in reality many of them actually have watched more than 5 minutes of any FOX program.

    The gay community is merely perpetuating a ridiculous stereotype that conservatives are all anti-gay. FOX news, which is as obviously conservative as MSNBC is liberal, is attacked regularly without merit. If the gay community wants to preach acceptance then the gay community must reexamine its supposed evidence and itself. I’ve been labeled a traitor for being a conservative far too many times; gay Republicans are constantly not accepted by the larger liberal gay community. The hypocritical viewpoint is ridiculous.

    If any gay organizations–GLAAD, HRC, EQCA, or DropFOX–really wants to be a respectable organization, an organization that isn’t beholden to untrue stereotypes, an organization that doesn’t promote lies only targeted at conservatives/Republicans, then they’ll stop with this nonsense.

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