David Caton (born January 3, 1956) is an American political activist and writer. He is founder, president and sole employee of the Tampa-based Florida Family Association campaigning against homosexuality and perceived dangers of Islamicization.
Caton is the author of Overcoming the Addiction to Pornography (published by Accord Books in 1990), a book based partly on his own experiences. He told an American Family Association conference in 1990 that he had previously been addicted to pornography.
The American Family Association took out an ad promoting Caton’s book in the November/December 1995 issue of its journal that was titled “Do you Know Someone Who Can’t Stop Looking at Pornography? Here’s Help.”
Florida Family Association
Caton founded the Florida Family Association (FFA) in 1997. The FFA website states that the goal of the organization is “defending American values and improving America’s moral environment. The FFA is an independent non-profit organization and is not affiliated with the American Family Association. In 2013 the New York Times noted FFA was a one-man Christian fundamentalist organization.
American Way Foundation President, Michael Keegan, told the USA Today, ”The Florida Family Association presents itself as an army ready to strike at companies that won't cater to its extremist views. In reality, the 'group' is just one very angry man - David Caton - and his computer." In a New York Times article titled “Waging a One-Man War on American Muslims,” Center for American Progress writer Wajahat Ali shared similar sentiment to Keegan, describing the FFA by saying, “It’s literally one dude with a poorly made Web site one fringe individual with an e-mail list.”
Gay rights opposition
In 1998, Caton orchestrated a protest of a high school support group called the Gay Straight Alliance, a club for gay students being harassed. The protest had an unintended effect and only strengthened the club, according to Principal Barbara Thornton who told The New York Times, “We found it a good thing he brought the issue out. It ended up with the student population at large supporting the Gay Straight Alliance because of the attacks from outside.”
Caton has been heavily involved in the political process in local Florida governments on homosexual issues. In 1998, he led an unsuccessful campaign to repeal a gay rights law in Miami, Florida. He presented a case before the Human Relations Board in Orlando, Florida in April 2002 speaking against an ordinance that would provide job and housing protection to gays. In October 2002, Caton opposed an amendment in Sarasota, Florida that would prohibit discrimination in “housing, employment or public accommodations based on age, disability, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation or veterans status.” Caton then opposed an anti-bullying bill in 2007 that would ban bullying based on a student’s sexual orientation.
When Florida’s ban on gay adoption was ruled unconstitutional in September 2008, Caton said it was due to “a rogue judge.” Later in in 2008, Caton spoke against the passage of a human rights ordinance in Pinellas County that expanded protection to gays, lesbians and bisexuals. The following year, Caton also opposed an ordinance by the Tampa City Council that would protect transgender people from discrimination. He has also similarly fought domestic partnership benefits.
Despite the FFA claiming as an accomplishment that they caused MTV to cancel “A Shot at Love” in 2008 for being a bisexual dating competition, the network ran a third season titled “A Double Shot at Love” with the same premise.
Similarly, in 2010, the FFA claimed victory in Kodak pulling advertising from the television series Degrassi: The Next Generation alleging that it “targets teens with gay propaganda and other immoral behavior”; but Kodak said in a statement their ads were stopped as part of a “planned pause” and were expected to continue the following week.
The FFA has flown airplane banners over Disney World that read “WARNING GAY DAY AT DISNEY” during the annual “Gay Day” which is not officially sanctioned by Disney. The group also campaigned against the DoubleTree by Hilton for accommodating homosexual guests.
In July 2012, Caton called on Office Depot to stop donating “bravery bracelets” with messages such as “Be Amazing” and “Be Yourself” to recording artist Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. In January 2013, before Lady Gaga began her “Born This Way” tour in the United States, the FFA had a banner flown by airplane over the pre-concert tailgate that read, “NOT BORN THIS WAY.”
In 2011, Caton began a protest of the TLC show All-American Muslim, a reality show that follows five Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan. The FFA claimed that the show was propaganda and a front for an Islamic takeover of America. In an interview with the Associated Press, Caton compared "Muslims to snakes."
Caton e-mailed companies advertising during the show pressuring them to drop their advertising. Lowe’s pulled their advertising, admitting that they did so partly in reaction to Caton's campaign. But Lowe’s Vice President Tom Lamb later said, “The decision was absolutely not, despite what’s been reported in the media, influenced by any one group.”
As a result of pulling their ads, Lowe’s received nationwide protests and publicly apologized, adding that Lowe’s has “a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
Despite the withdrawal of Lowe’s, All-American Muslim sold out all of their advertising time.
California Democratic State Senator Ted Lieu told the Associated Press, "The show is about what it's like to be a Muslim in America, and it touches on the discrimination they sometimes face. And that kind of discrimination is exactly what's happening here at Lowe's." Lieu also wrote to Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock calling their action “bigoted, shameful and un-American.”
Caton said he and the FFA campaign also caused Home Depot to pull ads from the show, but Home Deport said it was never a sponsor for the show. Additionally, Caton also claimed Campbell’s Soup had pulled their ads, but the company continued running them in future episodes.
In a 2012 article, the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board described Caton as a “one-man force of anti-Muslim bigotry.” Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist Daniel Ruth described Caton as a “plague of boils on the community’s spiritual life.”
After speaking out against intolerance against Muslims, Rev. Joel Huter told the Orlando Sentinel in April 2013 that he received hundreds of angry emails and letters from the FFA, one of which said, “I hope your family dies in a fire.”
- Samuel G. Freedman, "Waging a One-Man War on American Muslims", New York Times, 16 December 2011
- Bill Varian, "Nude feud heads to ballot", St. Petersburg Times, 8 May 2003
- Bill Dedman, "Bible Belt Blowhard", Mother Jones, November–December 1992
- "Journal" (PDF). American Family Association: 18. November–December 1995. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- "About Us". Florida Family Association. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Ellen Debenport, "Colo. anti-gay rights amendment is rejected", St. Petersburg Times, 21 May 1996
- "Active General Hate Groups". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Allen, Kevin. "TLC's All American Muslim TV show brings lives out in the open". USA Today. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- Wood, Daniel B. "Lowe's stores face protests for pulling ads from 'All American Muslim'". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- Kenneth Wald and Richard Scher, "A necessary annoyance? The Christian Right and the development of Republican Party politics in Florida", pp. 79-100 in The Christian right in American politics: marching to the millennium, edited by John Clifford Green, Mark J. Rozell, Clyde Wilcox, Georgetown University Press, 2003
- Thomas, Mike. "Gays Show They Know Just How To Get Job Done". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- Allen-Jones, Patty. "Discrimination measure on city ballot". Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- Dunkelberger, Lloyd. "Anti-Bullying Bill Brings Out Extremes". The Ledger. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Ackerman, Sherri. "Judge's Ruling Reopens Debate On Gay Adoption Ban". The Tampa Tribune. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- Van Sant, Will. "Pinellas extends human rights ordinance to include gays, lesbians and bisexuals". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- Zink, Janet. "Tampa City Council passes antidiscrimination rules for transgender people". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- Reinhard, Beth. "Antigay-rights activist seeks to ban same-sex benefits". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- "Drive to enshrine bias marches on". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- "Florida Family Association 2008 Accomplishments and Victories" (PDF). Florida Family Association. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- "A Double Shot at Love". IMDb. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- Derby, Kevin. "Florida Family Association Claims Another Coup as Kodak Stops 'DeGrassi' Ads on Teen Nick". Sunshine State News. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- ""Gay Day" warnings flown over Disney World". WMCTV. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- "Doubletree by Hilton Orlando is official hotel for Gay Days near Disney". Florida Family Association. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- "‘Kids not born this gay' Gaga". Daily Star. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- "Will Office Depot continue to donate more than $1 million to Born this Way campaign after Lady Gaga had a date with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and smoked pot on stage?". Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- Krell, Alexis. "Lady Gaga US concert tour starts in Tacoma; group protests with airplane ad". The News Tribune. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
- Tashman, Brian. "Florida Family Association Compares Muslims to Snakes, Wins Support from Other Fringe Activists". Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- Rice, Lynette. "Lowe's won't resume ads in 'All-American Muslim'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- "'All-American Muslim' Sells Out, Despite Lowe's Withdrawal". St. Joseph News-Press. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- Ross, Andrew S. (20 December 2011). "Advertisers cave to pressure over 'Muslim' show". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- Deggans, Eric. "Florida Family Association shuts down website, claims it was hacked". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- "Transcripts". CNN. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- Koehn, Donna. "Caton targets Muslim TV show". The Tampa Tribune. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- "Muslims' key role in snagging terror suspect". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- Ruth, Daniel. "David Caton: A biblical bully who just needs to shut up". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
- "Chain store to quit selling adult magazines", Gainesville Sun, 29 June 1989
- "Mother's Day Boycott Planned", Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 10 May 1989
- Snider, Eric. "Strip Club Politics". Creative Loafing. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- Sokol, Marlene. "Florida Family Association's David Caton protests Muslim speaker's visits to Hillsborough school". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- Sokol, Marlene. "Caton followers take up cause to ban Islamic speaker from school". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 3 September 2013.
- Maxwell, Scott. "Florida legislators join anti-Islamic crusad". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 3 September 2013.