Levi Strauss & Company, jeansmaker and self-proclaimed 'corporate pioneer' in the fight against AIDS, took a PR hit this week when the company's plan to put up a 30-foot 'Tree of Life' decorated with condoms in New York's Central Park was quashed by city officials.
'It's one of the most idiotic ideas I've ever heard of,' said press-shy New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.
The company immediately began looking for backup sites to display the tree and hold an event commemorating last week's World AIDS Day. William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, promised a boycott of Levi products and accused the company of trying to promote homosexuality. 'Parents shouldn't have to protect the innocence of their children at Christmas-time,' he said.
Ederer said the company won't be intimidated by the likes of Donohue.
Given the PR headaches his group has given everyone from the producers of the play Corpus Christi (which features a homosexual Christ-like character) to Disney (whose Miramax subsidiary released Priest, a movie in which a priest's religious faith clashes with his homosexuality), Ederer might be wise to play up the awareness aspects of Levi's PR campaign.