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Orbitz agrees to review advertising policies following campaign by LGBT groups

From the Courage Campaign and Media Matters:

The online travel company will ensure its practices are in line with its corporate ethos

Los Angeles: After a three-week campaign by high-profile LGBT organizations urging Orbitz to examine numerous examples of rampant anti-LGBT bigotry on News Corp's Fox News Channel, the gay-friendly travel agency has agreed to review its advertising policy to ensure that it spends its ad dollars on network [programs] that are consistent with its core corporate values of tolerance and non-discrimination.

According to their statement released today:

  • "Orbitz has heard from the LGBT community about its concerns that its advertisements appear on programs which have objectionable content."

  • "In the coming weeks, Orbitz will conduct a review of programming on the full range of media we buy. We will also evaluate the best practices among other companies who share our core values to see what approaches they use when evaluating media placements."

  • Regarding ad purchases going forward, Orbitz confirmed that its "customers will see that our actions will reflect the values that Orbitz, the brand, and company, embody."

The full statement from Orbitz can be found here.

Rick Jacobs, the founder and chair of the Courage Campaign, which worked with Media Matters for America, Equality Matters, League of Conservation Voters and CREDO Action on the Drop Fox campaign, said he appreciates Orbitz taking this review and thanked them for their continuing support of equality for all Americans.

Orbitz holds itself to high standards, which is why advertising on Fox News is so inconsistent,” said Jacobs. "Their actions can set the standard for other companies that understand business is not just making a quick buck, but also building long-term loyalty through a consistent corporate ethos. As we go forward, we and our members intend to trust but verify the actions of Orbitz and other companies.”

In a letter sent to Orbitz CEO Barney Harford on May 16, the day the campaign was launched, the organizations expressed concern that the travel company’s ads were appearing on Fox News.

“…We are writing you to raise our concerns about your association with a network that advances destructive anti-gay rhetoric. Your gay-specific travel site has been warmly received in the gay community, has resulted in higher quality service for the LGBT community and has achieved an increase in growth for Orbitz.”

Some examples were given in the letter where the network “acted in clear opposition to the best interest of the LGBT community.”

“It is our sincere hope that you will rethink your decision to support them [Fox News] financially through ad revenue,” stated representatives from the participating organizations in the letter.

As a follow-up, nearly 200,000 customers signed the letter, more than 2,000 comments were posted on Orbitz’ Facebook wall, and ads from the Drop Fox campaign were placed on Facebook and other websites.

"Media Matters has spent years documenting the prolific and widespread anti-LGBT bigotry that is expressed on the Fox News network and we're pleased to have worked with our friends in the LGBT community as well as Oribitz to start to move towards a solution," said Ilyse Hogue, Senior Advisor at Media Matters for America. "Advertisers need to realize that when they support Fox News, they risk associating their brand with Fox's slurs and misinformation, and their customers have a choice to go elsewhere. We're pleased that Orbitz is taking these concerns seriously, and we hope other advertisers take notice of this proactive response to customer concerns."

###

Courage Campaign is a multi-issue online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to work for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country. Through a one-of-a-kind online tool called Testimony: Take A Stand, the Courage Campaign is chronicling the sights, sounds and stories of LGBT families and all who wage a daily struggle against discrimination across America. For more information about Testimony, please visit, http://www.couragecampaign.org/Testimony.

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive outreach and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

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