Are Advertisers Quitting Pretty Little Liars Because of Lesbian Character?

General Mills pulls its support from show, but denies that Florida Family Association's campaign was the cause

By Brandi Fowler Aug 20, 2011 4:25 PMTags
Pretty Little Liars ABC FAMILY/BOB D'AMICO

Here's an pretty ugly little story.

When Pretty Little Liars' Emily Fields came out as a lesbian on the hit ABC Family show, it stirred up a heap of drama with the ultra-conservative Florida Family Association.

So what went down?

The FFA launched a campaign earlier this year asking advertisers to pull ads from the show because of Emily's romantic relationships with other women, which they called "irresponsible imagery."

The association even went so far as to describe the lesbian content on the show as "using salacious and glamorizing scenes portraying young, pretty women as lesbians", saying it "sends the wrong message to these young girls, a message that reinforces and legitimizes this homosexual lifestyle in a manner that could affect these young girls' sexual identity for a lifetime."

But did the FFA's campaign actually work?

While Remax Realty pulled its ads from the show following the launch of the campaign, the company in question is General Mills, which announced this week that it would follow suit.

The FFA published an email from GM's Director of Consumer Services Jeff Hagen, which read, "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 when asked by if GM pulled the ads due to lesbian content, a rep for the company said that was not the reason.

"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." the rep told the website.

Meanwhile, the Florida Family Association is continuing their campaign. No word just yet on if more advertisers will remove their ads from the show because of it.