Orbitz Defends Fox News on O’Reilly Factor

Orbitz Defends Fox News on O’Reilly Factor

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Oh, Bill. Always providing such reliable fodder for our incredulity. In last night’s Talking Points, O’Reilly focused on “Presidential Politics and the Media,” and brought up the Media Matters’ campaign to get Orbitz to drop Fox News from their advertising.

O’Reilly notes that “the Orbitz travel agency was threatened, but they’re patriots over there and issued a statement.”

Then, under the title “Orbitz Defends Fox News,” Orbitz spokesman Brian Hoyt says:

[Media Matters] is a political organization that has been funded pretty extensively to go after one network, and we aren’t going to engage in that fight.

We have a strict policy of tolerance and non-discrimination, and that means that we don’t favor one political side or the other.

Bill O’Reilly notes that Media Matters is funded by George Soros, and that it is a left-wing attack on Fox News because “the far left despises FOX News primarily because we are more skeptical of liberal America than most other media.” Yup, Bill, skepticism is exactly why we despise you! It has nothing to do with how you insist on pretending that you are “fair and balanced” (just watch until the end of the video below!).

Now, onto Orbitz. What did you expect, advertising on Fox News? Sure, you might have been doing it for awhile, and so what if Media Matters is a political organization. So is Fox News! Media Matters exists to call out lies, hypocrisy and bigotry in the media – no matter what channel it’s on.

So what’s your excuse, Orbitz? How can you market to us, take our money and then claim “tolerance” for the reason that you are advertising on hateful Fox News? You can’t have your gay and beat it too. Our money comes with a caveat: You cannot use it for something that hurts our community and hurts our fight for equal rights.

Supporting Fox News with money that might have come from Gay Orbitz is not the way to go about showing your consistent support of the gay community. You have to do more than just list your previous LGBT awards, or talk about your Perfect 100 with HRC, or talk about advertising on LOGO. Past actions are not Band-Aids to current situations.

While we respect the right for Orbitz to advertise anywhere, they have to undersand that Fox News, and the hosts that populate the channel, regularly spread lies and disinformation about gays: we are not necrophiliacs, we are not Al Qaeda, and being gay is not about drugs and incest.

Like it or not, Orbitz, you have already taken sides. You sided with the gay community when you launched Gay Orbitz and took our money. Every business decision is about taking sides – there is no neutral in the world.

Hoyt also told the Hollywood Reporter, “We’re going to advertise on conservative TV stations, liberal TV stations and — if there are any out there — unbiased news broadcasts.” Well, if you want to advertise anywhere you want, then you have to deal with the consequences of some of your consumers taking issue with that. The question is: Which constituency is more important to the growth of your business?

I sent the following letter to Brian Hoyt, who is Orbitz’s VP for Corporate Communications and Government Affairs. His number is 312.894.6890 and his email is bhoyt@orbitz.com. Let’s see if we hear back from them!

(For a list of Fox News’ anti-LGBT rhetoric, visit DropFox)


My name is Nick Vivion, and I run Unicorn Booty. We are a top gay blog, and, with 55,000+ people, the most followed gay blog on social media in the world. I am also a travel journalist and the inaugural Gay Travel Guru for GayTravel.com.

I have been following this DropFox thing, and just sat down to write a brief piece on it. But now it’s looking like I need to get some comment directly from Orbitz, especially with Bill O’Reilly jumping on board last night. He broadcast a statement you made, with the heading “Orbitz Defends Fox News.” Yikes. This is bad. Bill O’Reilly is a bigot, and he uses his platform at Fox News to regularly demonstrate this. I could send over dozens of videos, but I’m sure you have already seen them all. Huckabee compares homosexuality to incest, drug use, etc, and uses his show to rail on gay marriage. The channel constantly insists that DADT is necessary – even though the Joint Chiefs and President say otherwise.

Basically, Fox News regularly broadcasts disinformation that really, truly impacts the gay community. It hurts. We do not have equal rights in this country, and Fox News is making it harder ever day to achieve federal equal rights. I cannot marry my partner – who is also my business partner at Unicorn Booty – and every time I watch another clip or read something else hateful that happened on Fox News, I cringe.

In your TRUTH press release, you point to your consistent support of the gay community. You point to winning the 2008 GLAAD award, to the many commercials, and to the many millions you have donated. All of this is in support of the community that you hope will spend money on your Gay Orbitz travel portal. This is commendable, but remember that past actions are no Band-Aids for current situations.

Gay travelers have to truly feel like a company supports their community – we are fiercely loyal and expect companies that we patronize to be as well. Your support of Fox News via ad dollars is not consistent with your prior support of our community, and while I respect your right to advertise to a broad audience, this is a compromise that you make when you market directly to the LGBT community. You cannot market to us, ask for our money, and not expect outrage when we feel cheated. We have been victimized for so long that this sort of reaction is simply the inbuilt reaction of a persecuted minority. We’re loud, we’re proud, and sometimes we go over board – but only because we feel a loyalty to causes that matter to us.

You also mention that you got flack for advertising on LOGO, and that you didn’t back down then. LOGO, as far as I can tell, doesn’t have attacks on one particular group of people on it. Sure, it’s liberal, but it doesn’t actually advocate one point of view or another. Fox News is just simply so divisive, and over 30 Fox Newsers have donated to GOP candidates – including millions by News Corp. That’s hardly not taking sides!

I understand that you want to reach their audience, but sometimes you have to take a stand. Orbitz has stood with the gay community when not many other companies would, and you have been a leader. Dropping Fox News would make you a leader once again – gays do not want to even think of their dollars going to Fox via ad revenues.

As a small business owner, filmmaker, and freelancer myself, I understand the nuances of marketing. I am not some siloed journalist or kitchen blogger. I get it. I also get that when you choose to market to us, you have to understand that our money comes with a caveat. If we feel cheated, attacked, or unsupported, we will react. Sometimes it is knee-jerk, and sometimes it takes the right confluence of circumstances to make the gay community aware of an issue (as I’m sure you’ve been advertising on Fox News for awhile), but we still stand behind our beliefs as loudly and visibly as possible. We do not have equal rights in this country, and this is what we have to do to make an impact. While you might not want to take sides as an advertiser, we do as consumers. And we choose fairness, equality, and gay rights – things that Fox News does not stand for.

If you’d like to give a reaction to “Orbitz Defends Fox News,” I will gladly include it in my piece. I haven’t found much more than some defiant soundbites that don’t do anything to address the LGBT community’s concerns. I have also included a couple of questions that I have. I will be posting within the hour, so please do pass along anything you’d like to share. We are honestly trying to create an open dialogue here, as these discussions are only positive for all involved.

All the best,

Nick Vivion

Our questions for Orbitz:

1. In your statement, you said that Orbitz does not take sides politically. Does Orbitz’s support of Fox News via ad revenues imply that you support the content of the Fox News Channel?

2. What do you say to those in the LGBT community that believe supporting Fox News via ad revenues is tantamount to supporting the perspectives aired on the channel?

3. Bill O’Reilly called Orbitz “patriots” and that you stand for “freedom.” What do you say to those in the LGBT community that are asking Orbitz to stop advertising on Fox News?

4. What do you say about those who point to the inconsistency in purchasing of ads on FNC with the consistency of Orbitz’s support of the gay community over the past decade?

5. The general tone from Orbitz seems defiant (see your own tweets, and quotes in the Hollywood Reporter). Why is that?

(For a list of Fox News’ anti-LGBT rhetoric, visit DropFox)

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