(CNSNews.com) - Delta Air Lines has decided to stop sponsoring Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” after it aired a political skit featuring a picture of a Christian manger scene placed between a nude woman’s spread legs.
“We are constantly evaluating our advertising strategy and at this time we no longer advertise during ‘The Daily Show,’” Leslie Scott, a Delta spokesperson, told CNSNews.com in a statement read over the phone. “Delta advertises in a variety of places in order to reach our customers and support our business. This advertising is not intended as an endorsement of any opinions expressed by these outlets.”
Scott did not specifically mention the skit in question, but it has been criticized by Christian groups. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has been running a campaign for sponsors to stop advertising on the program until Stewart apologizes.
In the April 16 “Daily Show” segment dubbed ‘Vagina Manger,’ Stewart showed a picture of a naked woman with a nativity scene image placed at her crotch, between her spread legs. The image included depictions of Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus, and an angel. (Click here to see image -- Warning: Graphic.)
“Maybe women could protect their reproductive organs from unwanted medical intrusions with vagina mangers,” said Stewart after the picture appeared on-air during the segment, which was aimed at mocking Fox News for allegedly not covering the so-called war on women.
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, praised Delta for its decision to no longer sponsor “The Daily Show,” according to a May 7 press release from the organization.
“We need to support advertisers who act responsibly,” he said.
Back on Apr. 26, the Catholic League had invited Americans to contact Delta Air Lines "in pressuring Comedy Central to have Jon Stewart apologize for his 'vagina manger' assault on Christian sensibilities. the airline giant is one of 'The Daily Show's most prominent sponsors."
Over the last few weeks, the Catholic League has complained about the skit to the major sponsors of Stewart’s show, which is focused on news satire and airs on Viacom-owned Comedy Central.
The Catholic League is contacting sponsors to drop their advertising as a way for Comedy Central to pressure Stewart into apologizing.
“This unprecedented vulgar assault on Christians cannot stand. If Jon Stewart doesn’t apologize, we will mount a boycott of his show’s advertisers,” said Donohue on April 17, the day after the skit aired. “And we will enlist our allies in the Protestant, Jewish, Mormon and Muslim communities.”
One of those major sponsors is Kellogg’s. In a May 4 press release, the Catholic League quoted a response from the cereal-maker.
“We understand that our customers come from a variety of backgrounds, experiences, lifestyles, and cultures and we respect their individual decisions to choose the television programs that they deem acceptable for themselves and their families. Consumers speak most loudly when they vote with their remote control and change the channel or turn off the TV if a program does not fit their personal criteria,” said Kellogg’s, which is based out of Battle Creek, Mich.
Regarding the sponsor’s comments, Donohue called for a “national boycott” of Kellogg’s cereal and accused the company of showing a “collapse of decency.”
“Kellogg’s is telling Christians to shove it. But they made a mistake. We will now send the indefensible picture to their senior management and board, as well as to community leaders, religious and secular, throughout Battle Creek, Michigan. We are also calling for a national boycott of all Kellogg’s cereals,” said Donohue.
The Catholic Leagues campaign to have Stewart’s major sponsors pull their advertising officially began on April 19. Among the sponsors contacted by the league are Kraft Foods, SUBWAY, Mars, Inc., The Hershey Company, The Wrigley Company, Paramount Farms, Anheuser-Busch, InBev, and Ace Hardware Corporation.
Delta Air Lines has been the only company contacted who has taken action to drop Stewart’s sponsorship.
On April 21, while performing in Florida, Stewart noted that the Catholic League was boycotting him.
“I’m not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance,” he said, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
After the manger scene skit aired, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell challenged Stewart to perform the same style of so-called comedy with a Koran or Torah.
“Come on, Jon. We dare you to prove you are an equal opportunity bigot. Your grotesque stunt displaying a Nativity scene in a vulgar manner to take a jab at Fox News is but the latest in a long line of unacceptable behavior and hypocrisy when it comes to the media’s treatment of traditional Christianity,” said Bozell in a press release. “Doing something similar with the Koran or the Torah is equally offensive. Since you’re so brave to offend Christians, are you equally brave to offend Muslims and Jews? We dare you."
"Stewart thought he was being cute when he displayed a manger scene in front of a woman’s genitals to mock those allegedly ignoring the 'war on women,’” said Bozell. “If he’s such a daring political comedian, he should demonstrate his boldness by performing the same routine, but this time with a Koran and the Torah. Otherwise he is not only a bigot but also an outright coward.”
(Disclosure: The Media Research Center is the parent company of CNSNews.com.)