Pretty Little Liars is a show on ABC Family where some dead girl blackmails a bunch of her teenybopper friends—meanwhile, said teenyboppers make out with English teachers and each other. The action made the Florida Family Association a little hot under the collar, and not just because they’re an off-shoot of the national hate group, The American Family Association.
You see, the FFA likes eating cereal, especially cereal made by General Mills like Count Chocula and Sugar Frosted Colon Blow. So when they saw their favorite cereal maker advertising on a show with “homosexual propaganda and explicitly immoral content,” FFA’s Executive Director David Caton let General Mills know and GM immediately pulled their advertising from the show.
But why did GM do it? It depends on who you ask.
On August 16, Jeff Hagen Director of General Mills Consumer Services sent the follow e-mail to FFA’s Caton:
We have investigated this matter and confirmed that our advertising did air as you have reported. We have informed ABC Family Channel and our agencies that Pretty Little Liars is not a program that we will sponsor.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
But fast forward to August 20—after the story spent four days circling the queer blogosphere—at which point Hagen sent Caton this “clarification”:
My earlier email to you may have been misinterpreted.
While this particular program is not one we sponsor, the sexual orientation of the characters was not a factor in that decision. General Mills does not make advertising placement decisions based on the sexual orientation of characters.
So… Hagen first thanked Caton “for bringing [the show's "homosexual propaganda and explicitly immoral content] to their attention,” but then turned around 4 days later and told Caton that his complaint wasn’t the reason they pulled their ads. Hmmm…
Compare Hagen’s mixed response to the explanation “an”unnamed spokesperson for the company” gave AfterEllen:
“We make advertising decisions based on the audience demographic reach of a program and relevance for our brands, and we make changes to our ad buys all of the time. That should not be misinterpreted. The decision is entirely based on the relevance of the show’s audience for our brands, not because of the sexual orientation of individual characters.”
While we’re always happy to pee in the FFA’s bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, General Mills’ excuses seem somewhat soggy. Is this really the message they want to send to zombie lesbo-tweens? Sorry, undead homo-girls… Trix is just for living kids.