Corporate Watch update
Two developers in Kentucky, a priest and a homeschooling mom in New Jersey, a contractor in Mississippi and a beautician in Illinois – from six different Christian denominations – have all recently shown the effectiveness of making one’s views known and taking active steps to combat local evils.
The diverse group has taken on the Movie Gallery, the leading renter of pornographic videos in the U.S., and won. Their victories have included boycotts leading to the removal of pornographic materials and preventing the company from renting or leasing further space for its stores.
In other good news, 91 major U.S. companies have stopped advertising on the Entertainment Channel’s Playboy’s Girls Next Door Show after complaints from concerned citizens. At last report, however, companies including the Panasonic Corporation of North America, Samsung, Anheuser Busch, LG Infocomm U.S.A. Inc., Best Buy and Sprint Nextel were still buying advertising time on the show.
Interstate Batteries sponsored a car in a recent NASCAR race in Martinsville, Va. that kicked off a “Charged for Life” campaign, which will see money going to pregnancy resource centres associated with Care Net. Interstate’s mission statement begins with the words, “To honor God …”
A group of young women in Allegheny County, Pa. started a successful “girlcott” of the Abercrombie & Fitch clothing firm for a “degrading” T-shirt for girls that read: “Who needs a brain when you have these?” The company said it recognized that the shirts might be “troubling” to some and withdrew them.
The U.S. Parents Television Council has identified the U.S. companies that most support either family-friendly and wholesome, or violent and/or vulgar, television programming. Those getting the thumbs-up in the first category include Campbell’s Soup Corp., J.M. Smucker’s Corp., Merck and Corp., Clorox, Colgate Palmolive, Sears, General Mills, Coca Cola, Mars and Wal-Mart.
Those getting the thumbs-down in the second category include Yum! Brands (which includes A&W, KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell), Toyota Motor Sales Inc., Sprint Corp., Volkswagen, Ford, Daimler Chrysler, Pepsi, Nissan, Citigroup and Proctor and Gamble.
The council was also urging citizens to protest to sponsors of F/X’s Nip/Tuck television program, which it called “without question … one of the most sexually explicit, profane and violent television programs in the history of American television.” At last report, U.S. companies including General Motors, LG Electronics Inc., Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Inc., Match.com, Toyota and the makers of Aqua Velva and VO5 were sponsoring the program.
The Google internet firm has donated $90 million (US) to a new charitable foundation it has started and plans to give another $175 million to “socially progressive corporations” and to the cause of “influencing public policy.”
The punk music group Dead Kennedy’s cancelled a recent concert in Los Angeles in protest of sponsorship by the Coors Brewing Company, which the band claimed supports “conservative groups.”
Slava Ultra Premium Vodka was a sponsor of last fall’s objectionable Everything to Do With Sex Show in Toronto, while General Nutrition Centre (GNC), Rogers Cable Communications Inc., Premier Fitness and Pizza Pizza were among the exhibitors.
The Toronto Lesbian and Gay Community Appeal Foundation’s “Appeal 25” Gala last fall featured the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce as a presenting sponsor and West Jet as a gold sponsor.
A Christmas boycott of the Wal-Mart retailer by the U.S. Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights was called off after the company issued an apology, withdrew a statement on the origins of Christmas and revised its website.
The U.S. Planned Parenthood watchdog organization Life Decisions International issued a revised boycott list in December. Appearing on that list for the first time, as contributors to the world’s primary abortion-advocacy group, were U.S. companies including Altria (which produces Phillip Morris, Nabisco and Kraft products), Price Chopper, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger and SBC Communications (which encompasses AT&T). LDI also has a “dishonourable mention” list of charitable U.S. groups associated with PP or its agenda. They include the Girl Scouts, Rotary Clubs and the YWCA.
Focus on the Family U.S.A. has produced a report on aggressive pro-gay corporate activism and has cited U.S. companies including Eastman Kodak, IBM, Levi Strauss, Ford, Nike, AT&T and Molson Coors for being “trailblazers” in promoting homosexuality and the redefinition of the family.
A feature in an October 2005 edition of Toronto homosexual magazine Xtra! listed a number of companies that are no longer “skittish” about homosexually oriented advertising. Among those mentioned were Subaru, L’Oreal Paris, PepsiCo, IBM, Ford and American Express.
During the Christmas season, the American Family Association kept an eye on those U.S. companies that effectively banned mention of the word “Christmas” from their retail ads, in-store promotions or television commercials. Among those identified were Sears, K-Mart, Staples, Home Depot, Best Buy, Lexus, Old Navy, Red Lobster, Office Depot, Gillette, Dell and Milton-Bradley.