A notoriously antigay group, the Mississippi-based American Family Association, has ended its nine-year-old boycott of the Walt Disney Co. AFA president Tim Wildmon announced the end of the boycott in an article published Monday in the group's subsidiary Agape Press. "There are so many other issues we need to move on to and deal with that are taking our time and energy," Wildmon wrote. "If you're going to call for a boycott of a company--if something has become that serious--you need to have all your resources behind it."
AFA launched the boycott in 1996 in response to what its leaders perceived as the erosion of Disney's squeaky-clean image. The conservative Christian AFA has protested Disney's extension of benefits
to domestic partners of gay employees, open promotion of gay-related events at its theme parks, and religiously objectionable movies created by Disney subsidiary Miramax Films. Longtime Disney chief executive officer Michael Eisner was another sticking point for AFA. "He was involved in a media group that actively promoted the homosexual agenda," Wildmon said. "He was in your face."
AFA officials said they believe some of the initial concerns that sparked the Disney boycott have been resolved with Eisner's upcoming retirement and the divestiture of Miramax. "We feel like Disney, in many respects, has made an effort to clean up its act in the last couple of years," Wildmon wrote. He said the announcement is not an endorsement of Disney and that AFA recognizes some of its supporters may wish to continue avoiding its products. "We're just saying as an organization, after nine years of boycotting the Walt Disney Co., that we're calling an end to it officially as a ministry agenda item," Wildmon said. He said AFA will continue to monitor Disney and would reissue a boycott declaration if the company's positions again warrant such action. (AP)