"Meet The Florida Family Association: A Faux Outrage Generation Factory"
The Florida Family Association (FFA) has attracted national attention this week for convincing Lowe’s and other companies to drop its advertising on the acclaimed new TLC reality show, All-American Muslim. Claiming a membership of 35,000 individuals, FFA’s only paid staff member is its president, David Caton, and it is not affiliated with any national organizations.
FFA is an organization devoted to manufacturing faux outrage. Here is an extensive — though likely quite incomplete — list of the organization’s attention-grabbing complaints over recent years:
- Protests annual “Gay Days” at Walt Disney World: Every year, FFA objects to Walt Disney World’s “Gay Days,” when gay and lesbian people create visibility for themselves throughout the theme park. Disney does not officially sanction the event, but FFA calls on followers to complain to Disney officials that it takes place. This year, the organization even paid to have a banner flown over the Interstate 4 corridor warning travelers that Gay Day was that weekend.
- Protested “Godless” Family Guy: FFA objects to Family Guy‘s “Godless, Christian bashing and depraved content” and has targeted advertisers such as Chrysler, General Mills, and others.
- Claimed Modern Family “degrades marriage”: In 2009, the FFA complained about Toys R Us advertising on the Emmy-winning ABC sitcom Modern Family because it “degrades marriage and promotes same-sex couples and gay adoption.”
- Objected to Miss Universe Pageant’s HIV/AIDS advocacy: The 2009 Miss Universe pageant included a discussion on HIV/AIDS advocacy and peer education. The Florida Family Association joined other conservative groups in protesting that messages other than “abstinence only” were presented and objected to the contestants competing to inflate condoms as balloons, targeting Jet Blue, BSC Swimwear, Farouk Systems Group, Diamond Nexus Labs, and Nina Footwear for sponsoring the pageant.
- Decried LGBT non-discrimination ordinances: Numerous Florida municipalities have passed non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but the FFA firmly opposes them, often spreading harmful lies about LGBT people in the process. In 2009, the FFA said that Tampa’s new gender identity protections would allow “cross-dressing males to patronize women’s restrooms.” Responding to a similar bill in Gainesville in 2008, Caton called it “absolutely atrocious” that children would be exposed to the “social engineering” of respecting transgender people.
- Opposed Degrassi for LGBT portrayals and anti-bullying messages: FFA opposes the Teen Nick show Degrassi for its portrayal of gay and transgender teens and its support of The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline aimed at LGBT youth. It most recently targeted retailer Target for advertising on the show.
- Monitored all of Logo TV’s LGBT-inclusive programming: Since its launch, FFA has closely monitored Logo, the TV network geared toward the LGBT community. Even though FFA is obviously not the network’s target audience, the organization has monitored hours of its programming, objecting to companies like General Motors, JP Morgan Chase, and Johnson & Johnson for supporting content that is merely LGBT-inclusive.
- Opposed The Girls Next Door for promoting Playboy: Between 2005 and 2009, FFA claimed to have convinced “over 325” (326) companies to stop supporting E!’s The Girls Next Door, which Caton objected contained nudity and was “nothing more than an infomercial” to promote the Playboy Enterprise. Microsoft Xbox did, in fact, drop its ads, but Arby’s did not.
- Objected to bisexuality on A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila: In 2008, FFA took fire at MTV for portraying Tila Tequila’s bisexuality. The organization claimed that 94 companies pulled off the program and took credit for the show going off the air, though in reality the show was merely in syndication after two successful seasons.
- Complained about explicit content on Nip/Tuck: Objecting to “explicit, uncensored” swearing, drug use, and sexual encounters, FFA targeted the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning drama Nip/Tuck‘s advertisers, including Quizno’s Western Union, Vonage, Sandals Resort, AutoWay, Car Fax, and
the Bamboo club.
- Thought evolution should be taught as “theory,” not “fact”: Apparently completely unaware of what constitutes a scientific theory, FFA delivered close to 14,000 emails to the Florida Board of Education in 2008, urging it to approve the teaching of evolution only “as scientific theory instead of scientific fact.”
People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch has additional examples of FFA’s anti-LGBT and anti-Islam tactics.