It looks like the advertising executives at CBS might have some homophobic issues. The company rejected two commercials featuring gay men for this year’s Super Bowl and this isn’t the first time.
Reports about the commercials exploded when Planned Parenthood and women’s advocacy groups expressed outrage over the decision to air an anti-abortion ad during yesterday’s Super Bowl. The commercial featured University of Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy Winner Tim Tebow. The controversial ad highlighted a CBS implied policy to ban ads with any homosexual theme.
Ads previously denied include an ad bought by the United Church of Christ for both the 2004 and 2005 Super Bowls, which depicted gays and lesbians being accepted as members of their church. It began with two men holding hands, later showing them being turned away by bouncers. The ad cut to a screen with the words “Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we.” CBS said the church’s commercial was rejected because of policy against airing ads that “touch on and/or take on one side of a current controversial issue.”
The broadcasting company policies that apply to this type of ad are not an outright ban, but require pre-approval from the corporation. That might leave a little wiggle room if there was consistency in applying the policy overall.
In 2009 and 2010 CBS rejected dating Web site Mancrunch.com’s commercial. The ad shows two men in football jerseys watching a game. The men’s hands touch in a potato chip bowl and they start making out. CBS said there was a question of the company’s credit; the dating site said they were paying cash. Mancrunch wasn’t alone in being denied one of the coveted time slots.
Godaddy.com’s spot was rejected because there was a chance it might offend people. The ad shows a made-up football star in pink outfits who starts a lingerie company when he retires. The domain host is known for its racy material, but this would appear to be one of its more tame commercials. Neither of the rejected ads advocate anything more than promoting their businesses through the most popular spots in television.
CBS broke their ‘long-standing’ rule of banning advocacy advertisements when it aired the Tebow anti-abortion commercials on Sunday.
At the end of each of the 30-second ads, audience members are advised to visit Focus on the Family’s Web site for more of the Tebow story.
Focus on the Family is known for its anti-abortion and anti-gay stance. In an interview with Jim Daly, president of the religious organization, Bob Tebow advises young women with unwanted pregnancies to not choose abortion. The organization offers counseling for same-sex attraction and calls it a “violation of God’s intentional design for gender and sexuality.” The decision to air a commercial by a group so strongly opposed to choice and homosexuality, while denying commercials depicting gay men and inclusiveness, demonstrates CBS’ bias.
The corporation said it approved the ad because of the economy and policy changes made to stay modern. If that’s the case why turn away an additional $5 million in ad revenue? Looking at their actions, it’s easy to see something far deeper at work. If they were looking to keep people from being offended they did a poor job. CBS needs to review not only their policy, but the people who are applying it and the reasons behind it.