Gloria Allred Says Tim Tebow’s Super Bowl Ad ‘Misleading Advertising’
January 30, 2010
(ChattahBox)—-Tim Tebow is a well-known Heisman Trophy winning quarterback who led the Florida Gators to two titles, and by all accounts has a brilliant career ahead of him in the NFL. He is also a devout evangelical Christian who has spent his college years endlessly bible-thumping and proselytizing about God. And he is famous for his Jesus eye patches, which he inscribes with biblical verse numbers, before every game. Now, Tebow and his missionary mother Pam, are at the center of a Super Bowl advertising controversy, which has raised the sensitive issues of mixing religion and sports and the appropriateness of airing divisive advocacy ads, during the Super Bowl. Although CBS and other networks have long adhered to a policy of refusing to air advocacy ads during the Super Bowl, suddenly this year, the network decided to air an anti-abortion propaganda spot paid for by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family. The ad features Tebow and his mother Pam, in which Pam Tebow relives a harrowing tale of being pregnant with Tim, while on a missionary trip to the Philippines. Pam Tebow says she fell ill, and was told she should get an abortion, but she choose life instead, and the result is her strapping and talented football hero son.
The controversial ad with the tag line, “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life,” has received criticism from many quarters, including womens’ groups. But famed womens’ rights attorney Gloria Allred has a different take on the Tebow ad. Allred is questioning the veracity of Pam Tebow’s claims, declaring that besides being controversial propaganda, the ad may also violate federal law banning misleading advertising.
In an interview with RadarOnline, Gloria Allred claims that she doubts Pam Tebow’s claims, because since 1930, abortion has been illegal in the Catholic country of the Philippines. The anti-abortion laws are so strict in the Philippines, that exceptions are not allowed for rape or incest, or even the health of the mother. There is no law in the Philippines that expressly authorizes abortions in order to save the woman’s life.
According to the account in RadarOnline:
“Allred says she believes it an impossible scenario to believe that Philippino doctors would of ever suggested abortion as a viable option for Tebow in the first place. And when you learn that physicians and midwives who perform abortions in the Philippines face six years in prison, and may have their licenses suspended or revoked, and that women who receive abortions – no matter the reason – may be punished with imprisonment for two to six years, it’s easy to see why.”
Allred sent a letter to Les Moonves, the President and CEO of the CBS Corporation, in which she threatened to sue the network for misleading advertising if the spot did not include the information that abortions are illegal in the Philippines. “This is not just another ad. Women’s lives are at stake. No woman should have to live in a country where abortion is illegal as it once was in the U.S. And was and is in the Philippines,” wrote Allred. “No sugar coated religiously inspired ad which fails to give all of the relevant facts should be permitted to air on CBS or anywhere else,” Allred added.
Allred hopes the controversial ad is never aired, saying that she expects that the “Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission will be watching it and evaluating it for misleading advertising too.”
“If this ad airs and fails to disclose that abortions were illegal at the time Ms. Tebow made her “choice”, then I intend to file a formal complaint of misleading advertising with those federal commissions.”
After receiving criticism for agreeing to air the Tim Tebow ad, CBC announced a change of policy, saying it would consider other advocacy ads that are produced “reasonably.” But the network just refused to air an ad from ManCrunch.com, a dating site for gay men and a GoDaddy ad. CBS and other networks had previously refused to run advocacy ads from groups, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the United Church of Christ and MoveOn.org.
Jehmu Greene, president of the Women’s Media Center wants CBS to pull the controversial ad. “An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year — an event designed to bring Americans together,” said Greene.
And Terry O’Neill president of the womens rights advocacy group NOW also condemned the ad as anti-abortion propaganda that is harmful to women. “The goal of the Focus on the Family ad is not to empower women. It’s to create a climate in which Roe v. Wade can be overturned,” O’Neill said. “Focus on the Family has cynically set it up so they can say anyone who disagrees with airing this ad is disrespecting one woman and her choice. NOW respects every woman’s right to plan her own family and insists our laws do the same,” added O’Neill.
Even some members and supporters of the group sponsoring the ad, are not happy with it. Focus on the Family is paying an estimated $2.5 million to $3 million for the spot, at a time when the organization is experiencing financial problems and just laid off hundreds of employees.
Tim Tebow, has always worn his religion on his sleeve, or rather his eye patches, and he feels there is nothing wrong with airing the spot during the Super Bowl. “It’s a good time and place,” Tebow said. “There are a lot of people watching. It’s a great opportunity to share a very happy and special story about my mom fighting for me. There are a lot of great things in that.”
The Super Bowl game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints airs on February 7. And the brewing controversy over The Focus on the Family’s ad featuring Tim Tebow and his mother, will continue right up until the 6:30 PM ET kickoff time and beyond.
See RadarOnline for more.
Photo Source: AP