As reported in yesterday’s Weekly Briefing, North Carolina’s new Lt. Governor-elect, Dan “the Sears catalog is porn” Forest has a bit of a wacky side. A nonprofit that he helps run in tandem with a Raleigh ad agency owner named Christopher Stone purports to connect retailers to “faith driven consumers” — which in Forest’s world, means fundamentalist conservative Christians.
In the group’s new “Faith-friendly Christmas Guide” it informs readers that the giant retailer Sears gets very low marks because, among other things, its catalog “features women in lingerie.” Conveniently, the Guide even then provides a link to the online version of the lingerie catalog so that readers can be sure of what it is they’re crusading against.
As we also noted, the nonprofit is run out of the same office as Stone’s ad agency and the website for the agency features much of the same language about “faith driven consumers.” The ad agency website also contains multiple endorsements from clients that, until this morning, included three separate endorsements from employees of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.
In yesterday’s story, I reported that Blue Cross had not yet responded to my inquiries about the nature of the services that Stone’s agency provided to the giant health insurer. This morning, I received a very helpful call from Blue’s “Director of Brand Communications” Reagan Pruitt, who informed me that while the company had worked with the Stone Agency for years, she had no idea of the agency’s explicit connections to “faith driven consumers” and that none of the work it had done for Blue related to such consumers. She actually looked at the Stone website and the endorsements while we talked on the phone.
Now, just a few hours later, the endorsements from Blue Cross have been removed.
We’ll keep readers apprised as more wrinkles emerge in this at once amusing and troubling story.