The conservative American Family Association called off its boycott of Gap Inc. products Tuesday after encouraging Christians for the past two weeks to bar them from their Christmas shopping lists.
Gap Inc., whose popular stores include Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic, was on the AFA boycott list for “censoring” the word Christmas in its ad commercials and promotions. The pro-family group had urged American Christians to boycott the stores until Dec. 25 for failing to recognize that the seasonal celebration and gift giving tradition is because of the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas.
But on Tuesday, AFA announced the suspension of the boycott because Gap Inc. apparently plans to debut a new Christmas-themed commercial on Saturday, Nov. 28.
Gap’s vice-president of corporate communications, Bill Chandler, informed the AFA via e-mail that Old Navy’s new commercial “has a very strong Christmas theme.”
“As a gesture of our ‘good will to men,’ we have decided to suspend our boycott of Gap and its divisions until we see the content of this new commercial,” said Bryan Fischer, AFA’s director of issues analysis. “We firmly believe that Gap is responding to an enormous amount of pressure from the AFA network. It looks like Gap has finally decided that a recession is a bad time to take a principled stand on secularism and alienate a huge percentage of their customer base.”
Fisher added, “We’re happy that they’re apparently keeping Christ and Christmas in the Christmas season.”
Earlier, AFA had taken issue with Gap Inc. over its use of “winter holiday” in its commercials and promotions. It also was offended that a recent commercial put Christmas on the same level as Kwanzaa and the winter solstice.
“[B]ecause of the importance of Christ’s influence on the world in general and America in particular, celebrating His birth should be in a class all by itself,” said Buddy Smith, executive assistant to AFA president Tim Wildmon. “We are pleased that Gap is apparently beginning to agree.”
The conservative pro-family group warned, however, that the boycott could resume if the new ad is not “respectful” to Christmas and Christian shoppers.
Since 1977, the AFA has boycotted multiple U.S. companies for various reasons, most often relating to Christmas controversies, pornography, support of pro-abortion activism, support of violence in entertainment, and support of LGBT activism.
The AFA identifies itself as "a Christian organization promoting the biblical ethic of decency in American society with primary emphasis on TV and other media.”