Conservatives are crying foul over a
Pepsi television ad they say “promotes the gay lifestyle.”
The ad, which is currently being
broadcast in the United Kingdom, shows a young man hitting on another
man after passing over several attractive women.
The Christian group American Family
Association (AFA) says the ad “promotes the gay lifestyle.”
The ad is just another item in the
group's laundry list of complaints against PepsiCo, the company
behind Pepsi. In fact, the AFA began a boycott against PepsiCo
products, which include Frito-Lays chips and Gatorade sport drinks,
two weeks ago.
That boycott was promoted by the drink
giant's contributions to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nations
largest gay rights advocate, and Parents, Families and Friends of
Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), a support group for parents with gay and
According to an AFA action alert,
PepsiCo contributed $500,000 to each organization. The money was
used for a national workplace diversity program.
AFA President Donald Wildmon called
PepsiCo's response to his objections “condescending.”
“On November 15, AFA received a
condescending letter (dated Nov. 7) from Paul Boykas, director of
public policy, in which he refused to address Pepsi's support of the
homosexual agenda,” the action alert says.
Boykas' laconic response to Wildmon was
indeed unapologetic: “Among the values promoted by the PepsiCo
Foundation is ensuring a work environment that is respectful and
where associates are valued for their contributions. I hope this
helps clarify this grant by the PepsiCo Foundation.”
In its action alert, the AFA noted that
HRC supported defeat of Proposition 8 – the California ballot
initiative that stripped away the right to marry from gays and
lesbians in the state – with a $2.3 million donation and called the
workplace diversity training a forced acceptance of gays and
“Pepsi forces all employees to attend
sexual orientation and gender identity diversity training where they
are taught to accept homosexuality.”
Last month, an action alert decried ads
published in the gay media by Campbell Soup Company, calling them an
endorsement of gay families and the “homosexual agenda.” But the
iconic American brand said it would not retract from its first foray
into the gay and lesbian market.
And last May, the association launched
a full boycott against McDonald's for its support of the gay and
lesbian community. Among its objections was the burger giant's
involvement in the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
The AFA's position on all three of
these companies – and others, including Hallmark and Ford – is
that their money helps further a so-called gay agenda.
But increasingly the companies are
ignoring such biased protests. For instance, Campbell's executives
made it clear that they consider gays and lesbians a positive
“Our position on this is pretty
straightforward,” Campbell's rep Anthony Sanzio told AdAge.
“Inclusion and diversity play an important role in our business,
and that fact is reflected in our marketing plan. For more than a
century, people from all walks of life have enjoyed Campbell's
products, and we will continue to try to communicate in ways that are
meaningful and relevant to them.”
The AFA, founded in 1977 by Rev.
Donald Wildmon, has a long history of objecting to equal rights for
gays and lesbians. It has lobbied against gay marriage and
hate-crime legislation that would benefit gays.