Cereal Company Doesn’t Hate Lesbians, Just Tweens

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:

Dear David,

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”:

Dear David,

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.

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  • Greenluv1322

    Who do you work for FFA? They don’t “make out with each other”. There is one lesbian character, one. And much to my disappointment she really hasn’t “made out” with any other girls including the girlfriend that she had last season. So watch the damn show Queerty or STFU!

  • ChrisC

    Why else would they stop advertiseing with the show if it wasn’t because of their sexual orientation? The LGBT community should take it’s $800Billion in buying power elsewhere, and our supporters should as well.

  • timncguy

    Based on Queerty’s description, I would think General Mills would be more concerned about ABC “FAMILY” Channel showing a program with teen girls making out with their teachers. That sounds more provocative and dangerous than any teen lesbians.

    But, I do need to remember that I’ve never seen the program and this is a description being provided by Queerty after all……

  • Gigi

    I watch the show and it’s obvious that the person who wrote this story doesn’t. It’s actually quite good. Above, Greenluv1322 states that there’s just one lesbian character but that’s not 100% true. There’s one lesbian character who’s part of the core cast but there have been others minor lesbian characters as well…hence the kisses. Considering that the show is aired on ABC Family the gay story line has been handled with dignity and respect.

    As to what is more provocative, girl-0n-girl make-out sessions or teen girls have sex with their male teachers, I’d have to say the latter. But that’s just me.

  • Jimmy Fury

    @ChrisC: Well to play devil’s advocate it could depend on which cereals GM was advertising. Lucky Charms and any of the other neon sugar explosions are advertised to a much younger audience than the show attracts. Conversely, using the picture queerty provided, the Cheerios brand has shifted to targeting an older audience more worried about heart health and cholesterol than teen-girl dramas.

    As awkward as it all is, it really could just be that GM was unaware of the age demographic ABCFamily was targeting with that particular show.

    Do I think that’s definitely the case here? No. But it is a possibility.
    Keep in mind the entirety of “proof” we have is the *implied* content of one e-mail as determined by an interested party… Hardly damning evidence of an evil anti-gay conspiracy.

  • Freddie

    A) The show is good, yes. B) It’s a stupid decision on the General Mill’s part- the show’s doing really well, ratings are steady and, above all, “teenyboppers” love their cereal.

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