On Tuesday morning, comedian Rob Delaney sent a tweet to Ford that appeared to contain a gay slur.
"Ford, u should change the name of the mustang to the Ford 'Jeff's a queerloaf' cuz my neighbor Jeff drives one & he's a mega queerloaf," he wrote.
"Queerloaf" is a derogatory term that is sometimes used to disparage gay individuals.
The car company responded to Delaney's tweet a few hours later:
We already tried that, @robdelaney. After executive approval, it didn't make it through the focus groups. Other options?
— Ford Motor Company (@Ford) October 23, 2012
Delaney's tweet has already been retweeted more than 800 times, while Ford's has been "favorited" by more than 1,100 users.
When asked if he'd be willing to comment on the Twitter exchange, Delaney -- dubbed by some as the funniest person on Twitter and Mitt Romney's nemesis -- wrote this in an email to The Huffington Post:
WITH RESPECT, I am not interested in discussing only because I'd have nothing to say. I just like to tweet companies and sometimes they respond. I don't write them hoping for a response but it is sometimes funny when they do. I guess I'm just not interested in looking for any deeper meaning than that.
Scott Monty, the manager of Ford's Digital and Multimedia Communications department, said that the car company's response had been meant to be "playful and humorous."
"Firstly, he's a comedian. When we saw the tweet -- we normally would have ignored something like that… but he's got half a million Twitter followers, that's a significant number of followers," Monty told The Huffington Post.
"He was also disparaging the name of the Mustang. We didn't want to say something that would encourage him to come after us even more, so we decided to be playful with it. The Mustang is one of the most favorite icons in the Ford line-up and we don't take kindly to people trashing [it]," he added.
As to why Ford hadn't repeated the word "queerloaf" in its response, Monty said: "We would never repeat something like that… it seems like it's an offensive word, doesn't it?"
However, when asked whether responding to such a comment might give credence to the use of the disparaging term, Monty was evasive and instead pointed out the largely positive public response the company has received since the tweet.
"I wouldn't presume to know a clue about that... but people on Twitter have been commending us for having a sense of humor, for getting it and rolling with it in the spirit it was intended, rather than overanalyzing it," he said.
What do you think? Should Ford have responded to Delaney's tweet? Is Delaney's comment funny? Vote in this poll and tell us your thoughts in the comments below.