Editors note: An important update on this story is located at the bottom of the page.
Over the weekend, Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe, the head of diversity for the search giant Google, made an official announcement at an LGBT professional summit in London: His company has launched a worldwide "Legalize Love" initiative to promote human rights and tackle employment discrimination in countries with "anti-gay laws on the books."
Controversy and backlash following the announcement of businesses taking sides in the culture wars is not new and, on Monday, an official for one conservative nonprofit group announced an attempt to boycott Google, which includes the Internet's most visited website, Android phones, GMail and YouTube, among other popular websites and tech products.
Buster Wilson of the American Family Association said during a July 9 AFA Today video broadcast that it would be difficult to boycott the Google family of products, as the nonprofit has previously done with Home Depot and Oreo cookies for advocation of similar positions, but that it will “test the meat of our convictions.”
The American Family Association is a non-profit 501(c3) organization with the mission to inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture, and give aid to the church here and abroad in its task of fulfilling the Great Commission.
MSNBC.com notes that a boycott of Google products may be especially difficult, as most major tech companies advocate similar positions on LGBT issues:
Sustaining such a boycott in tech won't be as easy as changing cookie brands. Microsoft has openly supported gay marriage laws in its home state of Washington, IBM is renowned for being gay-friendly, and Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, is believed to be gay (though he has never discussed it), which gives an indicator of the company's position on the topic.
Danny Sullivan of MarketingLand.com questioned that if the AFA were to move forward with a boycott as Wilson suggests, will the organization be removing themselves from Google search shortly? If Viacom over YouTube and book publishers over Search copyright issues were unable to follow through with their attempts to remove themselves from Google's search engine, will the AFA hold strong?
Watch Wilson's comments below:
Buster Wilson, General Manager of the AFR Radio networks and speaker in the above video clip, has contacted The Blaze to clarify that his comments Monday were a reflection of personal feelings regarding the Google "Legalize Love" campaign, and he was not signaling any official opinions or positions of the American Family Association. Wilson commented to The Blaze by email Thursday:
AFA can only call a boycott under the direction of our president, Tim Wildmon. When AFA has called boycotts in the past, it has been through our massive, multi-million email list, our print publications, our vast internet delivery systems, and over our 204 radio stations in 35 states. There will no mistake about any boycott that AFA chooses to make. It will NOT announce one through the personal musings of a talk show host, imbedded within a single segment of a daily radio show.On Monday, I was simply sharing the story of Google's new campaign, Legalize Love, and the personal implications upon me as an avid Google customer. I personally love Google products and have no plan to stop using them any time soon.I never called for a boycott. I don't have the authority to do so. I was simply speaking of my own personal convictions.