IBM Cancels TV Ads For Golf Tourney Because of No-Black Host Club
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ IBM has canceled television commercials that were supposed to run during the Professional Golfers’ Association championship because the host club has no black members, a company spokeswoman says.
″When we learned that this tournament was being played at a club that was exclusionary, we decided it was not an appropriate vehicle for our advertising,″ the spokeswoman, Gina Chew-Holman, said Tuesday.
Officials of the private club, Shoal Creek, said it does not have a policy against blacks and some blacks have been guests. Hall Thompson, the club’s founder, said in June the club has Jews, Lebanese, Italians and women among its members, but no blacks.
″Supporting even indirectly activities which are exclusionary is against IBM’s practices and policies,″ Chew-Holman said.
Toyota and Anheuser-Busch also are canceling their TV advertising with ESPN during the event, the Birmingham Post-Herald reported today. Officials with the corporations and ESPN were not immediately available to comment on the report.
Everything was running smoothly for the Aug. 9-12 PGA championship, also held at Shoal Creek in 1984, until Thompson commented recently that the club would not be pressured into accepting black members. He later apologized and said he was quoted out of context.
Thompson has refused to comment since his apology, as have other club members.
Chew-Holman would not say how much money International Business Machines had planned to spend on television advertising during the tournament, which will be televised for two days by ESPN and carried by ABC for the final two days.
Leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the NAACP have urged picketing of the tournament.
Mayor Richard Arrington, who is black, says he hopes black leaders decide against demonstrations.
″I don’t think they will be necessary to bring about the change being sought,″ he said.
Publicity over Shoal Creek has ″started a process of assessment which will likely lead to the voluntary end of racial discrimination″ in Birmingham area country clubs in a year or so, Arrington said.