Restaurant chain declines to support gay TV show

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com October 03 2002 12:00 AM ET

The Applebee's restaurant group, which drew fire from a conservative Christian organization for advertising on the Bravo network's reality miniseries Gay Weddings, said Tuesday that the ad ran by mistake.

A spokeswoman for Applebee's International said the company specifically asked the cable television channel not to run the spot during the show. "As an advertiser, we--like most companies--prefer to stay with noncontroversial shows,'' Laurie Ellison said.

The ad ran once during the first episode of Gay Weddings on September 2. The show ran for four nights, profiling four gay and lesbian couples preparing to exchange vows. On September 4, Focus on the Family's Web site criticized the show and named Applebee's as one of the advertisers.

Bravo acknowledged its mistake, and no Applebee's ads ran during subsequent episodes, Ellison said. Bravo spokeswoman Caroline Bock confirmed that the cable channel erred.

Cathy Renna, a spokeswoman for the national Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said she is disappointed with Applebee's. "This is a lost opportunity for Applebee's, not to support a show that promotes understanding,'' she said.