TiVo Raises The Ire Of Gay & Lesbian Groups

TiVo has become the focus of negative attention from several LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) groups due to their participation in a Father’s Day contest. Sounds innocent enough:

This month, as we take time to honor fathers, we have a question for you:

Do you know a SuperDad?

Perhaps he can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, but at some point, he has demonstrated exactly what a dad should be in your mind.

Maybe he taught you to drive. Maybe he’s bailed you out of a tight spot. Maybe he’s a wonderful father to your children.

Whatever it is, we want to hear your story!

So why the furor? The contest is being run by the notorious anti-gay group Focus on the Family. Focus on the Family head James Dobson is well known for his homophobic stance and outrageous, unsupported statements about homosexuality. While Focus on the Family claims to be a non-partisan group focused on supporting families, their definition of ‘family’ is fairly narrow and excludes any LGBT families.

The story has been spreading around the web for the past couple of days. It looks like Jeremy at the Good As You blog was the first to spot it. And then Joe. My. God. covered the story and contacted TiVo, who replied:

UPDATE: I had another chat with TiVo and they have emailed me the following:

TiVo’s popular KidZone feature has been recognized by many organizations as a great way to protect children from mature programming. Focus on the Family is one such organization that is leveraging the benefits of KidZone for an affiliate promotion of their of own their own design – in this case a Father’s Day contest.

On the phone just now, their rep stressed to me that TiVo has supported various LGBT groups in the past and that this promotion is just one of many that highlights their KidZone feature. There is an apparent relationship between TiVo and FOTF, even if the haters designed the contest on their own.

The Family Equality Council Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler sent a letter to TiVo on the issue. (PDF) They’re also calling on people to do a little culture jamming on the contest by nominating LGBT dads as candidates for Super Dad. They’ve also setup a petition relating to the contest to be delivered to TiVo.

It has also been covered by ProudParenting.com and EDGE Boston. And the story has jumped the pond, picked up by Pink News in the UK.

Focus on the Family is considered a hate group by many, and, frankly, I personally agree with that stance. No matter what they may pretend, they actively support discrimination and their leader spouts off with complete falsehoods to support his prejudices. TiVo would never dream of partnering with the KKK or any other group that encouraged racial discrimination, but it seems that partnering with a group that encourages discrimination based on sexual orientation is just ducky with TiVo. And that’s really upsetting, and disappointing. Brushing it off as an affiliate run contest doesn’t really excuse it, IMHO, TiVo can choose who they affiliate with, and vice-versa. I do hope TiVo rethinks this affiliation.

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • Clare

    Thank you for calling attention to this problem.

    I agree that TiVo should not partner with a hate group like Focus on the Family, and should cease working with them immediately. I’ve been a huge TiVo fan and supporter and even pusher for *ages*, but affiliations like this horrify me and may cause me to stop recommending TiVo to my friends.

  • http://www.clunkclunk.com Adam Nelson

    Thanks for posting this Megazone.

    Not only is it appalling that TiVo would partner with a group that is clearly homophobic, but they also support prayer in schools, corporal punishment, and are proponents of intelligent design. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were geocentric or members of the Flat Earth Society.

    Does anyone have any contact information of anyone of some substance at TiVo? I’d like to email or mail a letter to them and express my distaste with their recent partnership/affiliation.

  • Rob M

    I couldn’t agree more with the previous posts. Focus on the Family has become more and more hate filled over the years, and is at the point now that their prejudices have sickened me again and again.

  • http://www.zatznotfunny.com Dave Zatz

    They’ve been associated with sketchy groups since the launch of KidZone. Whatever. I don’t approve, but the connection is tenuous and I think it’s the least of their problems.

  • Crazy Water

    For all of you complaining including the owner of this site, if you feel so strongly about this then get rid of your TiVo’s today. Otherwise please save your self-righteous preaching for somewhere else.

  • http://www.gizmolovers.com/ MegaZone

    Ah, the ‘love it or leave it’ argument comes out. I prefer ‘try to effect change’ over ‘give up’. But if giving up whenever you see something you disagree with is your thing, have fun. And feel free to give up and not read the blog too.

  • Crazy Water

    Who said anything about giving up…I don’t expect you to give up this blog, not with all the TiVo marketing and revenue generating links & advertisements plastered all over it…which seems somewhat hypocritical in itself.

    But as you said, it ain’t my blog and I don’t have to come here…

  • http://www.gizmolovers.com/ MegaZone

    No give up on the blog – give up on TiVo by getting rid of them. I’d rather try to get TiVo to change their policies than throw a fit and dump them for one mistake. TiVo has shown they can change their policies then they make a mistake, they did it when they started using the Pay Per Post shilling service. They stopped when the community chided them for it.

    As for revenue – I’m lucky if the blog covers the costs on an annual basis. I turn down far more ads than I run, because the object for me isn’t to optimize the revenue from the site.

  • Tom

    The so-called “Focus on the Family” group has a lot of disinformation campaigns as well as some decidedly anti-family stances.

    They are against single parenting as well as gay couple parenting. They spread misinformation about birth control and HIV transmission as well as what has been mentioned above.

    TiVo just needs to do a little more due diligence. Doesn’t make sense to partner with organizations that will alienate some of your customer base. Everyone makes mistakes and TiVo should be given an opportunity to step up and do the honorable thing.

    I like how “Crazy Water” says in his first post “get rid of your TiVo’s today” [sic] then in his second: “Who said anything about giving up”. Um, I think it was you “Crazy Water”, if that’s your real name :)

  • Alex S

    While I do agree that Focus on the Family is a distasteful group, I have to say I agree with Dave Zatz. The relationship between Tivo and this group is being blown a bit out of proportion.

    Yes, Tivo should have done a little more due diligence before working with the. Yes, they should back away from this contest. But with some people talking about boycotting Tivo and not reccomending it because of those FoF people?

    Come on, I think we’re making this into an international incident when all we need to do as Tivo fans and members of the community it to send letters or e-mails to them stating our displeasure. From previous history, Tivo will make the right choice.

    Oh and don’t give up the blog. I enjoy reading it too much to see it go away. ^_^

  • http://thecrazywaterezboard.yuku.com Crazy Water

    I like how ?Crazy Water? says in his first post ?get rid of your TiVo?s today? [sic] then in his second: ?Who said anything about giving up?. Um, I think it was you ?Crazy Water?, if that?s your real name :)

    My comment regarding “not giving up” was in reference to not giving up the fight against discrimination. I’m sure you realize that but why bother correctly portraying my comment when you can mischaracterize what I said.

  • Timmy B

    Yea, FOTF doesn’t meet my list of ‘good guys’ either, but let’s remember that Tivo, as a business, is trying to position itself to a BROAD section of CUSTOMERS so there is a type of ‘free speak’ argument to be made for FOTF fans that use the well regarded KidZone feature to focus on content they like. — There are other political and social groups using the Tivo platform that I may not agree with, including some Gay advocates, Religious and Conservative groups, but I wouldn’t try and get Tivo to disassociate themselves from at THIS level. I’m not big on promoting the contest though. Putting raw FOTF propaganda IN a Tivo newsletter would be another thing. — And, since ‘Father’s Day’ isn’t an event that FOTF created, you might just as well get pissed at Hallmark and the retail sales industry. — From a marketing sense (and that’s what I do) this makes good sense. We’re ALL Whores. It’s what made America great!;<) Get OVER it — Dave’s right; tempest in a teapot.

  • henderpa

    I think it’s quite a stretch comparing Focus on the Family to the KKK. It’s true that they are anti-LGBT but I don’t recall them ever killing someone for that. Opposing them and their agenda is your choice but making over inflated comparisons does not bolster your argument.

    Oh, and I enjoy reading this blog daily. I also enjoy listening to the Focus on the Family radio broadcast. I plan on continuing to do both.

  • canoehead

    Spiro Agnew

    That’s an anagram

  • Greg

    Hate Group??? More like a group with some morals…. I will be removing this blog from my daily watch list.

  • Dave

    Tolerance based on the intolerance of intolerance is intolerable.

  • http://www.gizmolovers.com/ MegaZone

    A cute but meaningless statement. Tolerance doesn’t mean accepting prejudice, and especially not accepting a group that has been caught lying again and again to support their objectives. (Morals, indeed.)

  • Dave

    Cute? Yes. Meaningless? No. Could you give me an example of the “lying” you’re talking about?

  • http://www.gizmolovers.com/ MegaZone

    Sure, here’s one example. Here’s another. FOTF leader James Dobson lies all the time when making up statistics to support his anti-gay agenda. He’s made a number of claims that are provably false – such as claiming that 80% of children in Norway are born out of wedlock since they started allowing gay marriage. A stat he’s cited as evidence that gay marriage somehow corrodes society. Except it is a lie – it is around 50% He also made false claims about their abortion and divorce rates, again to support his claim that gay marriage somehow leads to societal collapse. Except the truth is their rates of both haven’t skyrocketed, and in fact are lower than many US states which don’t have gay marriage.

    Dobson and FOTF seem to make up statistics as needed to provide a pseudo-scientific backing to their agenda.

    I went looking for a site that collected more of their lies, and just found this one. Looks like a decent starter.

    Whenever you hear FOTF or Dobson stating ‘scientific facts’ you should be skeptical and research them yourself before you buy it.

    They can have whatever opinion they want, just like anyone else. But when they state ‘facts’ that are incorrect, that’s called lying. If I started telling people they should buy a TiVo because they dominate the market and 80% of DVRs are TiVos it’d be the same thing. They seem to operate under the guideline of ‘the ends justify the means’. If pushing their agenda means distorting the truth, that’s OK. And they probably really believe that, that they’re doing some greater good and therefore their methods are acceptable.

  • Scaramouche


    We need the extremes if we’re to have any real freedom of choice. Relax. Anyone making an argument here & appealing to reason and logic is going to fail, because you presuppose your conclusion. Think about that for a sec.