Hilton ad makes social statement, sparks outrage online

A recent hotel advertisement got leaders of the American Family Association in a dither. Here’s the image, the controversy that followed and why Hilton execs aren’t backing down.

Hilton published an advertisement in Travel + Leisure magazine that features two men in bed together, and the American Family Association doesn’t like it.

AFA leadership launched a petition to stop it from circulating further.

Here’s the ad in question:

And here’s the crux of the AFA’s discontent, as it articulated in a statement on its website:

Travel and Leisure isn’t a gay-specific magazine sent directly to homosexual’s homes. It’s a widely distributed mainstream publication that can be found in many public places such as doctors’ or auto repair waiting rooms. If Hilton had advertised two men playing tennis, cards, or having lunch, that would have been reasonable. However, Hilton chose to make a cultural and social statement by purposely marketing the promotion of homosexuality to a large segment of the population who finds the idea of two men sleeping together unnatural and offensive.

The AFA petition reads:

I am offended by your ad in the June issue of Travel and Leisure magazine, featuring two men in bed together.

If Hilton is going to advertise in mainstream media, at the very least, it should promote with images that reflect a family friendly atmosphere.

In addition, I urge you to meet with pro-family leaders who represent my values and concerns over this matter.

So far, the petition has more than 47,000 signatures.

RELATED: Upgrade your editorial operation and improve your storytelling. Attend The Influential Communicator in NYC!

A Hilton rep said:

Hilton Worldwide is a global company of diverse cultures serving diverse guests. We are proud to depict and reflect our guest diversity in our advertising.

How do you think reps handled the attention?

(Image by Marksman003 via / CC BY-SA 4.0)


Ragan.com Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive the latest articles from Ragan.com directly in your inbox.