Gay activists want advertisers to dump Fox News

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Gay rights campaigners in the US are pressuring companies not to advertise on Fox News because they say the network perpetuates “smears” and “lies” about gays and lesbians.

Media Matters and gay groups GLAAD, the Courage Campaign and Equality Matters have asked LGBT-friendly online travel promoter Orbitz to drop its ads on Fox.

The campaign says that a number of Fox presenters and guests – such as Bill O’Reilly and Governor Mike Huckabee – promote “misinformation, smears and flat-out lies” against gay people.

Mr Huckabee has compared homosexuality to incest and paedophilia, while Mr O’Reilly has commented that gay people should not be allowed near children.

The groups wrote an open letter to Orbitz International chief executive Barney Harford to reconsider his company’s use of Fox as an advertising platform.

A spokeswoman for Orbitz told the Advocate that the company was disappointed that GLAAD “mischaracterised [their] relationship with LGBT consumers”.

The company said it had a perfect score in the Human Rights Campaign’s Workplace Equality Index and has sponsored several gay-themed events.

“Our advertising, which integrates inclusive messaging reflective of our diverse audience, will continue to respect and serve the needs of ALL travellers no matter their politics, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender,” Orbitz said.

One of Fox’s most controversial presenters, Glenn Beck, announced in February that he is to leave the network. In 2009, campaign groups calling for an advertiser boycott of his show caused substantial revenue losses.