by WorldTribune Staff, February 2, 2020
As host of Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers, the Fox network green lighted ads featuring drag queens and rabid Second Amendment opponent Michael Bloomberg.
But there was no room for a pro-life commercial during this year’s big game, a report said.
Lyric Gillett, founder of Faces of Choice, accused Fox of “stringing her along after she began negotiating in July to air a powerful black-and-white ad featuring adults and children of different genders and ethnicities with one thing in common: they survived abortions,” Valerie Richardson noted in a Jan. 29 report for The Washington Times.
Gillett said that “In an era where we’re trying to give survivors a voice, whether that is through the #MeToo movement or on any number of issues, for some reason we deem survivors of abortion worthy of being ignored into oblivion. That, to me, is both ironic but also just appalling.”
A spokesperson for Fox claimed in an email to Richardson that the network sold out its Super Bowl ad space “at a record pace this year, and unfortunately we were unable to accommodate Faces of Choice and other advertisers.”
Gillett said she wrote the pro-life ad’s script three years ago and was making arrangements through sponsors to raise $5 million to buy a 30-second slot during the Super Bowl as a way of launching Faces of Choice, which incorporated in September. The ad shows close-ups of people saying, “Can you look me in the eye and tell me that I shouldn’t exist?”
Gillett told the Washington Times that her biggest frustration lies in what she described as Fox’s lack of responsiveness. She said she also reached out to the Academy Awards about running an ad, and an ABC executive got back to her the same day to tell her that the show has a policy against advocacy spots.
“We would have been fine with a ‘no.’ We’re adults, we can handle a ‘no,’ ” Gillett said. “ABC gave us a ‘no,’ and we didn’t go home with hurt feelings. We took it and said, ‘Thank you. I appreciate your policy.’ And that was it.”
That wasn’t the case with Fox, she said. “Every time we would meet a stipulation or request, it would morph into something different. I would send an email saying, ‘What else do you need to get some type of answer?’ Even if it’s a ‘no,’ we don’t want a ‘no,’ but at least we can have an answer. We never got that answer,” Gillett said. “So it’s just been a very frustrating experience.”
Advocacy ads featuring political themes and socially relevant messages “are increasingly making their way into the lineup of the annual NFL bonanza,” Richardson noted.
Last year, Gillette razors sent a #MeToo message with its “toxic masculinity” ad. In 2017, Budweiser and 84 Lumber included pro-immigration themes in their spots. Other companies have included shout-outs for gay and transgender rights.
Sunday’s Super Bowl commercials will include a Sabra hummus ad featuring a pair of drag queens, as well as a 60-second, $10 million spot by Bloomberg, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.
The Sabra ad featuring two former contestants, Kim Chi and Miz Cracker, from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” was lauded by marketing strategist Bob Witeck as “revolutionary.”
“For queer audiences, it is an art form and an outsiders’ language,” Witeck told NBC, referring to drag. “Reaching the Super Bowl means taking our language into every home in the nation and millions around the world.”
The last time a Super Bowl spot with a pro-life message aired was 2010, when Focus on the Family bought ad time featuring college quarterback Tim Tebow, whose mother rejected a doctor’s advice to have an abortion after she contracted amoebic dysentery.
That ad, which did not include the words “abortion” or “pro-life,” prompted furious pushback from pro-choice groups. The National Organization for Women called the CBS commercial “frankly offensive,” given that it “sends a message that abortion is always a mistake.”
My Faith Votes, which is working with Faces of Choice, launched an online petition accusing Fox of censoring the ad and demanding that the network air it.
If the commercial doesn’t run, Gillett had another suggestion: “I would encourage people during the Super Bowl, if you’re willing, if you’re interested, to shut off the TV during the commercials and listen to their stories. Give them a voice.”