DETROIT – Ford Motor Co.(F) is again facing a boycott threat from a conservative Christian group over the automaker's decision to run corporate advertisements in gay publications.
Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Family Association said Ford reneged on an agreement to pull ads from gay media.
"We had an agreement with Ford, worked out in good faith," said Donald Wildmon, chairman of AFA, in a statement on the group's Web site on Thursday. "Unfortunately, some Ford Motor Company officials made the decision to violate the good faith agreement."
"We are now considering our response to the violation and expect to reach a decision very soon," he said, adding that the option of a boycott is now very much alive.
Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes on Friday declined to comment on the issue.
Ford last week decided to pull all advertising for its Jaguar and Land Rover luxury brands from gay publications after facing a boycott threat from AFA.
The AFA, which has criticized the automaker for being gay-friendly, had called for a boycott of the automaker's vehicles in May, but suspended the move in June for six months after talks with Ford dealers, and ended its altogether this week following the decision by Jaguar and Land Rover.
While Ford had said the ads were being pulled as a result of cost-cutting efforts, the perception that Ford agreed to anti-gay demands from the AFA drew protests from gay groups across the United States.
Ford, after meeting with gay rights advocates in Washington on Monday, said on Wednesday it would run corporate ads, which would include Jaguar and Land Rover brands, in gay and lesbian publications.
The controversy comes at a bad time for Ford, which is in the middle of a restructuring strategy to turn around its money-losing North American vehicle operations.
The automaker, which has seen its U.S. sales fall in all but two of the last 18 months, cannot afford to lose customers now, analysts have said.
Ford is not the first company to come under fire for its stance on homosexuals. Other large companies including Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Walt Disney Co. (DIS) have also found themselves trying to appease groups on both sides of the cultural divide.