Eminem's 'over the top' lyrics put deal with Ford into reverse gear

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The Independent US

"It just wasn't Ford," a spokesman for the company said yesterday in response to the rapper's hit, "Ass Like That".

Ford said the lyrics, which include a plea to Gwen Stefani: "Will you pee-pee on me please?" and the observation "Britney Spears has shoulders like a man", were "over the top".

The chorus includes the lines: "The way you shake it, I can't believe it. I ain't never seen an ass like that. The way you move it, you make my pee-pee go doing, doing, doing."

The move is a setback for the Detroit-based company, which is struggling to boost sales. It initially jumped at a request from Eminem, a Detroit native, for a new car which had not yet been on the market to feature in the video for the single.

Ford offered a sedan called Fusion, hoping the promotion would boost its popularity among younger car drivers.

However, the company decided it could not go ahead. A Ford spokesperson said: "It wasn't any problem with Eminem. It was just that the song was over the top. It just wasn't Ford."

Ford makes cars under the Land Rover, Aston Martin, Jaguar, and Volvo marques as well as its own. Its decision to pull out of the arrangement with Eminem may have been influenced by the fact it has had past run-ins with Christian groups.

Since Eminem, born Marshall Bruce Mathers III, now aged 33, first came on to the music scene in 1999 with The Slim Shady LP, he has received accolades and insults for his lyrics. Last year, he spoke out against President George Bush and his role in the Iraq War in "Mosh", and enraged Michael Jackson with his tune "Just Lose It", which parodies Jackson's child-molestation accusations and his rhinoplasty. Michael Jackson called into a radio show to report his displeasure with the video.

The Slim Shady LP, went triple platinum but controversy surrounded many lyrics. In "97 Bonnie and Clyde", Eminem describes a trip with his infant daughter, disposing of the bodies of his wife, her lover and his son. Another song, "Guilty Conscience" ends with Eminem and rapper Dr Dre encouraging a man to murder his wife and her lover.

His second album, The Marshall Mathers LP was nominated for a Grammy. Though he always claims his lyrics are not meant to be taken seriously, gay rights groups objected to his liberal use of the word "faggot" and said he was a "gay-basher".

While Ford may have been hoping to throw off its staid image by having a deal with Eminem, its reason for calling it off, may, in part, be due to wariness of America's powerful American Family Association (AFA). In March, the AFA started a campaign to get consumers to boycott Ford on the grounds that it had a "pro-gay" agenda.

The AFA, based in Mississippi, said its campaign had been prompted by Ford's agreement to donate $1,000 (£552) to a gay and lesbian rights group, Glad, if requested by customers buying a Jaguar or Land Rover.