ESPN issues apology for homophobic NBA ad, ad pulled

Yesterday morning I wrote about a new ESPN/NBA ad that seemed awfully homophobic. HRC reports that ESPN immediately recognized the problem, pulled the ad, and issued an apology. Excellent work by HRC, and good job by ESPN as well. Most companies dawdle when things like this come up (cough, Snickers), but ESPN stepped up to the plate. And for that they get our thanks.

This past weekend brought us the latest installment of advertisers using homophobia to sell their products. This time, the ad was on ESPN promoting its NBA programming. The ad features NBA star Shaquille O’Neal rejecting the offer of a “fist kiss” from sports commentator Mike Breen. The spot is generating significant concern in the LGBT community for its portrayal of affection among men as “disgusting”.

We’ve contacted a member of ESPN’s diversity department who’s worked with HRC for a long time. She assured us that they were taking the matter seriously and that the ad would be getting pulled and an apology issued.

It seems that the ad was approved lower down the food chain and, once reasonable folks became aware of it at HQ, they saw the offense.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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