June 2, 2011
By: Joe Siegel/TRT Reporter
Equality Matters, a GLBT media watchdog group, has met with resistance from Orbitz after requesting the travel company withdraw advertising from Fox News Channel for airing homophobic viewpoints.
Equality Matters, along with the Courage Campaign and GLAAD, joined DropFox in asking the company to stop sponsoring Fox News due to its long history of anti-LGBT bigotry.
Executives at Orbitz claim the fight against Fox News is about nothing more than politics.
“This is a political organization that has been funded pretty extensively to go after one network, and we aren’t going to engage in that fight,” Orbitz spokesman Brian Hoyt said. “We haven’t bowed to any boycott in the past, and we won’t bow to these types of smear campaigns in the future.”
“We have a strict policy of tolerance and non-discrimination, and that means we don’t favor one political side over another,” Hoyt added. “Tolerance is a two-way street. We’re going to advertise on conservative TV stations, liberal TV stations and — if there are any out there — unbiased news broadcasts.”
A spokeswoman for Orbitz, sent The Advocate a statement on May 16, noting that the company was disappointed that GLAAD “mischaracterized [their] relationship with LGBT consumers,” especially since it has worked with the organization in the past.
The company also points out that it has a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Workplace Equality Index, and has sponsored several gay-themed events, in addition to its LGBT travel site.
Trevor Thomas, a spokesperson for Equality Matters, released this statement in response to Orbitz: “I’m disappointed to see Orbitz dismiss our concerns as a mere political disagreement. We’re not talking about coming out against policies; from comparing homosexuality to necrophilia to equating same-sex marriage to marrying a duck, Fox has a history of mocking and belittling the LGBT community.”
Jess Levin, the National Press Secretary for Media Matters for America, explained Equality Matters was not calling for a boycott in their letter to Orbitz.
Levin said Equality Matters wanted Orbitz to “examine the evidence in front of them and evaluate whether those statements meet their own stated tolerance policy. If not, they should reconsider their financial support of the network.”
Ilyse Hogue, Senior Adviser at _Media Matters_, hopes Orbitz will live up to their claims of tolerance and inclusiveness toward the GLBT community.
“As we’ve continually clarified, the request is not political,” Hogue told The Rainbow Times via e-mail. “To the contrary, the examples that we highlighted in the letter deal with basic decency, not public policy; and we hoped Orbitz, upon reviewing outrageous instances of Fox’s bigotry, would see action as an opportunity. By dropping Fox, they would renew their commitment to the LGBT community and increase their loyalty to the travel site.”
Some customers have already lodged complaints with Orbitz over their continued affiliation with Fox News Channel.
“Over 35,000 customers have signed the letter asking Orbitz to stop advertising on Fox, and close to 1400 have taken this same message to Orbitz’s Facebook wall, pledging not to patronize Orbitz until the company drops Fox,” Hogue noted.
Hogue thinks there may be some damage to Orbitz’s reputation if they insist on advertising their services on FOX: “If Orbitz won’t change their position or even engage in rational conversation after looking at a few examples that would be a larger sign of a change in their brand identity.”
Filed Under: National News