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GLAAD Calls on CBS to Explain Decision to Air Tim Tebow 'Focus on the Family' Super Bowl Ad

Late today, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) finally joined the chorus of those expressing concern about a Focus on the Family ad CBS plans to run during the Super Bowl featuring University of Florida Quarterback Tim Tebow.

2_tebow In 2004, CBS rejected an ad about tolerance from the United Church of Christ in which the UCC's inclusive policies were highlighted by showing a bouncer stationed at a church door with a velvet rope turning away gays and minorities.

Said GLAAD Senior Director of Media Programs Rashad Robinson: "CBS’s decision to run a Focus on the Family ad during this year’s Super Bowl can’t and shouldn’t be considered in a vacuum. CBS spent years denying a platform to an LGBT-inclusive church that wanted to share a message of inclusion with a national audience. Now, when it happens to be financially inconvenient for CBS to hold to the standard it had previously imposed, the network’s expediency benefits a virulently anti-gay organization whose advocacy on these issues is the antithesis of that of the United Church of Christ."

GLAAD asks people to call CBS to express their concern but falls short of asking the network to reject the ad as a coalition of women's groups did this week, instead calling on the network to explain its decision.

CBS spokesman Dana McClintock explained the network's position earlier this week: "We have for some time moderated our approach to advocacy submissions after it became apparent that our stance did not reflect public sentiment or industry norms. In fact, most media outlets have accepted advocacy ads for some time."

According to an AP article published earlier this week, "CBS also told the AP that, under its new policies, the UCC ads would have been accepted for airing."

Rev. J. Bennett Guess, Director of Communications for the United Church of Christ told GLAAD: "CBS’ about-face only underscores the arbitrary way the networks approach these decisions, and the result is a woeful lack of religious diversity in our nation's media. Such flip-flops only lead the public to believe that broadcasters own the airwaves when, in theory at least, they do not. This April, in an attempt to reach newer audiences, the UCC does plan to unveil a new 30-second commercial with purchased spots on internet sites; however, our media-buying plan, at present, does not include national TV. But the larger issue of access remains, not just for the UCC but for all religious groups. When and if the UCC does return again to CBS or another network, will our distinctive religious viewpoint be heard or will there be yet another policy change?"

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Comments

  1. It is sad that CBS only realizes how out of step they are *after* they play the role of bigot.

    I really wish UCC could raise enough funds to have their message air during the Super Bowl this year. Even if it's a two-year-old ad, it deserves air time... and it would be great to put CBS' message to the test.

    Grassroot Effort, anyone?

    Posted by: TommyOC | Jan 27, 2010 7:49:45 PM


  2. boycott cbs and its sponsor hit them in their pocket book time to really apply pressure on them a boycott of cbs programs and letters to their sponsors will let them know their double standard will not be tolerated

    Posted by: walter | Jan 27, 2010 8:22:23 PM


  3. Thanks, Andy, for recognizing that our organizations must take responsibility for holding others accountable and not allowing the marginalization of LGBT people to the shadows of the American experience. To GLAAD: What took you so long to stand against Focus on the Family and CBS?????

    My argument is not with Tim Tebow, however, who has proven to be an unflappable man with a big heart. (Remember the on-field kiss with his football teammate/roommate that had tongues wagging and generated negative media attention?)

    Posted by: Bryan | Jan 27, 2010 8:41:48 PM


  4. Well I don't see why in good faith, CBS won't prominently place the UCC ad at a reduced rate.

    I mean if they REALLY don't have a problem with it airing then they should be willing to put up or shut up and take the consequences instead of using phantasmal rule changes as a smoke-screen.

    Posted by: Jubal H | Jan 27, 2010 8:48:09 PM


  5. leaders would have an ad ready for this situation and the money to pay for it -- is GLADD leading or merely reacting when the shit hits the fan?

    Posted by: David B. 2 | Jan 27, 2010 9:02:14 PM


  6. Part of the problem here is that America is obsessed with sex and sports. Way too much attention on the former from our churches and way too much money spent on the latter with little to show for it.

    Players making six or seven digit salaries to play a freaking game?! Which obviously qualifies them to speak to America about family values. How about drug use? That no-neck isn't the result of just working out ya know.

    Posted by: Michael | Jan 27, 2010 9:44:14 PM


  7. I posted the following on CBS's website's feedback form and urge all Towleroad's readers to do the same:

    As a fan of many fine CBS programs, it saddens me that your network has chosen to air an ad paid for by the hate group, Focus On the Family during your Superbowl broadcast. While your company may not find the ad's contents objectionable, you should find its creators' values exceptionally objectionable. By accepting this ad, you are giving support and credence to an organization whose main focus is to discriminate against the LGBT community, block civil rights and destroy the lives of millions of LGBT citizens. Shame on you, CBS. If the ad airs as scheduled, you can be assured that you will lose millions of LGBT viewers, as well as their friends and family members. Is the temporary revenue you gain by allowing this ad to air worth the potential losses you will incur in the future? Until you announce the rejection of FOF's ad, I will be a former CBS viewer.

    Posted by: Brian | Jan 27, 2010 9:53:14 PM


  8. They didn't just refuse our Bouncer ad in 2004. They refused our "Ejector Seat" ad in 2006 and out "Steeple" ad in 2007-2008. Each time they claimed that our ads were "too controversial".

    Check them out and see for yourselves how "controversial" they are"

    "Bouncer": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx1u1v7hAtY

    "Ejector": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXCzzNoMeNs

    "Steeple": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-zLzwo7QV4

    I'm LOVING all of this free publicity that the UCC is getting over this. We could NEVER have afforded to pay for this kind of exposure.

    TAKE THAT CBS, NBC and ABC!!!

    TOMMYOC, the UCC is planning an ad buy for a NEW and exciting ad this April. We would LOVE for the gay and progressive community to start a grassroots fundraising effort to help us make it as effective and widespread as possible.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jan 27, 2010 10:24:12 PM


  9. so cbs, get the ucc piece on the air

    Posted by: rick | Jan 27, 2010 10:47:20 PM


  10. Another point that is worth making here, not to diminish the non-heterosexual community in this matter, is that FoF is also fiercely against a woman's right to choose abortion or contraception.

    It is abhorrent for ANY being or organization to try to tell another human being what they can or can not do with their own bodies.

    It is intolerable for this reason that CBS would allow this ad to air. We, that is ALL conciously aware citizens regardless of sexual identity, can not allow women to repressed in this manner.

    Call CBS and demand that this ad not be allowed to air. Show your support for the gay community, for women's reproductive rights, or both.

    Posted by: Jonathon Costal | Jan 27, 2010 11:14:05 PM


  11. GLAAD is late to the game and lame as ususal. I hope that no one here donates to this inept organization. Demanding an explanation after CBS already issued one? WOW! GREAT WORK! Give them an award Glaad.

    Posted by: Mike | Jan 27, 2010 11:32:59 PM


  12. I followed the GLAAD link and I have sent an e-mail to CBS. Do the same! Tell them they are wrong, and we will boycott, and TELL YOUR FRIENDS. CBS is absolutely in the wrong here, and they need to be told as much.

    Posted by: Travis | Jan 27, 2010 11:41:44 PM


  13. It is good that there will be a new UCC ad in April, but the Superbowl is not in April.

    The number in the viewing audience for the Super Bowl, the prestige of having a commercial during this event, and even more important, the buzz and conversation created in the following day or two about "What was the best commercial during the Super Bowl?" cannot be matched.

    There is no comparable event or programming on network TV that gets this kind of audience or attention.

    It's the blue-collar Joe six-packs and adolescents that most need to see these UCC ads.

    Supposedly, it was a few wealthy donors that paid for the Focus on the Family ad, and not Focus on the Family general funds.

    A UCC ad needs to be played at THIS event. It is unrealistic to hope that a grass-roots donation effort can raise enough funds to pay for a UCC commercial in time for this year's Super Bowl.

    If you know any of these uber-wealthy gays, please contact them and plead for their help. Any one of them could easily fund this, and collectively they could buy time for all three of the UCC ads: Bouncer, Ejector, and Steeple.

    These uber-wealthy gays have a history of generous philanthropy to gay causes:
    David Geffen
    Tim Gill
    David Bohnett
    James Hormel
    John Stryker
    Henry vanAmeringen
    Jonathan Lewis
    Linda Ketner

    Posted by: Rob | Jan 27, 2010 11:48:17 PM


  14. "My argument is not with Tim Tebow, however, who has proven to be an unflappable man with a big heart."-- Bryan

    Oh yes, I'm sure his HEART is the reason you're excusing the straight white muscular jock. I'm an unflappable man too. Let me prove it by rolling my big eyes.

    Posted by: Jon | Jan 28, 2010 1:22:16 AM


  15. From a business perspective, they'd better understand that as they turn into one big wasteland of this garbage, Scientology ads, and direct marketing, people are turning off their sets. Maybe that's not as big of a risk during a football game, but I find that people are increasingly disgusted with what is being fed to them. Crap business model, IMHO.

    And tell me, would they run a "Good Without God" ad sponsored by the humanists? And if not, why?

    I'm disappointed that I didn't see my girls Planned Parenthood mentioned as being a part of this. Time to check out why they've been kinda toothless lately.

    Will email CBS now.

    Xenuspeed, you stupid Florida fundie!

    Posted by: Lacey Davenport | Jan 28, 2010 5:00:07 AM


  16. Why when I read the change at CBS came after the UCC ad and in time for the Focus on the Family ad did I remember Dana Carvey's Church Lady quote, "How convenient..."?

    Posted by: gleeindc | Jan 28, 2010 7:21:13 AM


  17. Yes, convenient indeed.

    Posted by: Jonathon Costal | Jan 28, 2010 7:44:17 AM


  18. ROB, GREAT IDEA!!!

    I've contacted the national office of the UCC in Cleveland and they said that they would do everything in their power to place an ad during the Super Bowl if someone, or some group of people, could fund it. The church simply doesn't have the money to buy such an ad. The UCC, unlike the Catholic, Mormon and Southern Baptist churches, isn't swimming in money. In fact, we believe that ANY church that IS swimming in money has totally missed, either intentionally or through ignorance, the most basic message of the Christ.

    If anyone can convince one of these big money people to fund the ad, the UCC would be happy to place one, or ALL, of their three ads that I provided links to above.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jan 28, 2010 9:50:39 AM


  19. They can contact the UCC at ucc.org or call Felix Carrion at the national headquarters in Cleveland at 216-736-2100.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jan 28, 2010 9:52:39 AM


  20. Scratch that.

    I just got a return call from the Justice Ministry office of the UCC.

    They said, while they were thankful and flattered by the support and the idea to raise money for an ad during the Super Bowl they just couldn't see spending millions of dollars on a publicity ad for the church when millions of people are suffering in Haiti and the rescue and relief effort needs that money so much more. How could we ever justify spending millions on a vanity television ad when so many are suffering and in need?

    Though getting the UCC message out through publicity is important it isn't more important than the message of Christ and the WORK of the UCC in feeding the hungry, helping the needy, lifting up the downtrodden and welcoming the excluded.

    They encourage these wealthy donors to donate to the UCC, but NOT for the purpose of buying an ad.

    They suggest that we donate to the UCC Haiti relief effort at:

    https://secure3.convio.net/ucc/site/Donation2?df_id=1780&1780.donation=form1

    Or donate to ANY trusted organization that is provided assistance to Haiti.

    THIS is why I am a proud member and supporter of the UCC.

    LACEY, the UCC would be the FIRST to sign a petition in support of a humanist organization ad, including one that said, "Good without God".

    Our church is chock FULL of humanists. My local congregation also has members who are agnostics, atheists, wiccans and LOTS of Buddhists; including a gay Buddhist youth director and a gay Buddhist Moderator (President), ME! Not bad for a congregation that is 80-90% straight.

    We are all attracted to the church because of its VERY vocal stands, and for their ongoing and untiring work, for justice.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jan 28, 2010 10:16:20 AM


  21. What's the big deal? Are we against free speech (like POTUS on SCOTUS campaign decision) I don't get that at all?
    Noone has even seen this add and they got your panties all up in a twist... gee-wizz.
    The add just says Tebow wouldn't be here had his mom chosen to terminate.
    Now I never knew Tebow untill yesterday...
    I'm not a football fan... I'm sure some of his fans are glad to learn about her "choice."

    Posted by: granny | Jan 28, 2010 12:37:02 PM


  22. GRANNY, how do you interpret denying the UCC ad time for its ads and then accepting a Focus on the Family ad an expression of free speech? Applying different rules to a liberal church's ad and a conservative, fundamentalist, political organization is an issue of free speech for which CBS should be supported? REALLY?

    How is this free speech for the UCC?

    And by the way, the word is "ad", not "add". It's short for ad-vertisement.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jan 28, 2010 7:43:10 PM


  23. I bet that Queen James Dobson enjoyed his meetings with that hunk Tim Tebow. Dobson and Pat Robertson are as gay as Liberace. They always find excuses to work with huge, muscular, hunky men.

    Posted by: hephaestion | Feb 1, 2010 9:02:16 PM


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