BY STEPHANIE COSBY, News Editor
Home improvement store Lowe’s is facing public backlash after its announcement that it will pull its advertisements from all future airings of the Dearborn-based TLC reality show, All-American Muslim.
Lowe’s withdrew its advertisements after protest from the Florida Family Association (FFA). On its website, FFA says, “The Learning Channel’s new show All-American Muslim is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law. The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.”
The FFA lists all of the companies that advertise during each episode and offers a pre-written email for supporters to send to the various advertisers.
Lowe’s acknowledged that it pulled advertisements but insisted it was for broader reasons. “We understand the program raised concerns, complaints, or issues from multiple sides of the viewer spectrum, which we found after doing research of news articles and blogs covering the show,” said Katie Cody, a Lowe’s spokeswoman.
Outrage toward Lowe’s has been widespread. A petition against the “bigotry and fear-mongering” cropped up on SignOn.org to urge current TLC advertisers to stand up against Islamophobia. The petition will be delivered to the various corporations once it hits 5,000 signatures.
Hip hop artist and social activist Russell Simmons expressed his outrage toward Lowe’s this past weekend. “This can’t happen in America; [Lowe’s] needs to fix this immediately,” Simmons said. “They can’t get away with that, it’s ridiculous.” Simmons called on Lowe’s to reverse its stance.
California Senator Ted Lieu also spoke against the company. “Lowe’s action is bigoted, shameful, and un-American,” Senator Lieu said in a letter to Robert A. Noblock, the CEO of Lowe’s. “I call on Lowe’s to rescind its action and apologize to Americans who are Muslim. If Lowe’s continues its religious bigotry, I will encourage boycotts of Lowe’s and look into legislative remedies.”
All-American Muslim cast members took to Twitter and Facebook to air their displeasure. “This is NOT about standing up for All-American Muslim,” said Shadia Amen-McDermott on her Facebook page. “This is about standing up against bigotry and hatred in this country founded on peace, justice, and equality.”
Lowe’s responded to the complaints via Facebook. Insisting they value diversity and inclusion, Lowe’s says that it “has received a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible. Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lighting rod for many of those views.”
“As a result we did pull our advertising on this program,” Lowe’s continues. “We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance.”