This past Saturday, Lowe’s Home Improvement store, which uses the motto “Let’s Build Something Together,” pulled its advertising from TLC’s new show All-American Muslim after being pressured by the Florida Family Association. A statement put out by Lowe’s laid out their reasoning for this decision:
Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lightning rod for many of those views. As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individual and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance.
The Florida Family Association asked its members to petition Lowe’s to pull its advertising, which appears to have been successful. Furthermore, the group claims that 65 companies that they targeted have pulled their advertising.
According to the Florida Family Association,”TLC’s ‘All-American Muslim’ is propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda’s clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values.” But the show does not aim to hide anything; rather, it aims to show the everyday life of a group of families. Ordinary Muslims practice their faith without any agenda and Muslim Americans embrace American values. The Florida group’s position does not reflect an understanding of Islam as a faith. Moreover, targeting a program because it is trying to provide a non-stereotypical picture of a group of people (i.e., trying to dismantle the “Muslim equals terrorist” canard) does not demonstrate the tolerance that is central to American values.
Groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee have spoken out against Lowe’s decision. Moreover, California Senator Ted Lieu has opposed the decision saying, “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 with Lowe’s.” Senator Lieu has called for Lowe’s to apologize to the Muslim community, reinstate the ads, and conduct outreach to the community about bias and bigotry.
While I have written that I think the show has problems in regards to how it was executed, I reiterate that it should not be removed from the air nor should advertisers pull out. This move by Lowe’s, and the fact that the company succumbed to the pressure of groups that are obviously biased, is disturbing and underscores the need for more programs on Islam and the Muslim experience in America.
What do you think of Lowe’s decision to pull its advertising? Is it a sign of bigotry? Why do you think this show is being targeted? Please share your comments below.