One of the characters on the ABC Family hit Pretty Little Liars came out as lesbian earlier this year, which prompted the right-wing Florida Family Association to start asking the show’s advertisers to stop buying ads during the program.
It appears that the FFA may have had success with two brands, though one of them denies the organization had anything to do with its decision: General Mills and RE/Max.
E! Online reports that the FFA says that having an actively lesbian character on the show, which reaches a demographic of teenage girls and young women, “sends the wrong message to these young girls, a message that reinforces and legitimizes this homosexual lifestyle in a manner that could affect these young girls’ sexual identity for a lifetime.”[more]
The FFA received an email from General Mills’ Director of Consumer Services, Jeff Hagen, which it went ahead and put up on its website. It read, in part, “We have investigated this matter and confirmed that our advertising did air as you have reported. We have informed ABC Family Channel and our agencies that Pretty Little Liars is not a program that we will sponsor. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.”
However, GM is now adamantly denying it pulled the ads due to the lesbian content on the show. “We make advertising decisions based on the audience demographic reach of a program and relevance for our brands, and we make changes to our ad buys all the time,” a spokeswoman told AfterEllen.com via email. “That should not be misinterpreted. The decision is entirely based on the relevance of the show’s audience for our brands, not because of the sexual orientation of individual characters.”