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‘Pretty Little Liars’ Ad Fallout: Why General Mills Should Support LGBT-Inclusive Programming

‘Pretty Little Liars’ Ad Fallout: Why General Mills Should Support LGBT-Inclusive Programming

Two advertisers have dropped their campaigns from the ABC Family hit Pretty Little Liars because of the lesbian character played by Shay Mitchell. Diane Anderson-Minshall, Executive Editor of The Advocate, said she is deeply disappointed by the mounting backlash on the fan-favorite teen series. "I hope Pretty Little Liars can continue to tell LGBT teens and young adults watching that it’s okay to exist and demand to love and date and get your heart broken over whomever you want."

As SheWired reported last week, two advertisers have dropped their campaigns from the ABC Family hit Pretty Little Liars after one of the characters came out as a lesbian, but according to Fox News, the advertisers deny pulling ads over LGBT-related content.

Fox interviewed Advocate Executive Editor Diane Anderson-Minshall regarding the pulled ads, and she said she is deeply disappointed by the mounting backlash surrounding the series.

“Studies show that LGBT teens have much lower suicide rates, and much higher happiness and self-acceptance markers, when they live in communities, families, and cultures that accept them for who they are,” she notes. 

“I hope Pretty Little Liars can continue to tell my teenage nieces and all the LGBT teens and young adults watching that it’s okay to exist and demand to love and date and get your heart broken over whomever you want. That’s a message FFA won’t like, but General Mills should," she added. 

ABC Family stands behind their program, saying, “We strive to reflect the rich diversity of our audience and the world around us. We're incredibly proud of the engaging characters and authentic storytelling that define ABC Family.”

Last week General Mills pulled its ads after the Florida Family Association notified them that Emily, one of the show's lead characters, has been having relationships with other women. The organization also said the show's audience of primarily 12-18-year-old girls was being sent a message "that reinforces and legitimizes this homosexual lifestyle in a manner that could affect these young girls' sexual identity for a lifetime." 

Real estate company Re/Max pulled its ads from the show earlier this year when the Florida Family Association launched its campaign.

But the FFA is celebrating the companies’ decision to pull spots and is urging others to follow suit.

“We would love to see the program change its content to remove the explicit lesbianism that is then presented to an audience of girls,” David Caton, FFA founder said. “That would be something we'd love to see but we know that producers are not likely to do that, so we're going to continue to contact companies that are paying the advertising costs and sponsorship for the program as long as it stays on the air. We're in this to make a difference.”

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