A TLC reality show offering a positive portrayal of Muslim life has come under protest and at least one advertiser has pulled its support.
Hardware store giant Lowe’s has yanked ads from the series after the Florida Family Association encouraged members to email the program’s advertisers.
“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 group said about the show, a docu-soap chronicling everyday Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan that debuted last month. “Clearly this program is attempting to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad and to influence them to believe that being concerned about the jihad threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.”
The organization posted a letter allegedly from a Lowe’s representative agreeing to pull its ads: “While we continue to advertise on various cable networks, including TLC, there are certain programs that do not meet Lowe’s advertising guidelines, including the show you brought to our attention. Lowe’s will no longer be advertising on that program.”
Lowe’s then acknowledged and defended its decision on Twitter: “We did not pull our ads based solely on the complaints or emails of any one group. It is never our intent to alienate anyone. Lowe’s values diversity of thought in everyone, including our employees and prospective customers.”
Florida Family Association also suggested Home Depot and Sweet’n Low have been scared off, but emails posted from the companies say they only bought one ad each in the first place. All told, the organization claims its email campaign has convinced 65 companies to stop advertising with the show.
Now the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has weighed in and is calling on its membership to support the show — and to contact Lowe’s. “Sadly corporations, such as Lowe’s, have succumbed to the idiocracy of such garbage campaigns, which are orchestrated by groups and organizations which lack credibility, legitimacy, and are founded on the basic notions of bigotry and racism reminiscent of a shameful era in this country’s history,” said the organization in a statement.
A TLC spokesperson wouldn’t discuss the protest, but told EW: “We stand behind the show All American Muslim and we’re happy the show has strong advertising support.”
UPDATE II: Lowe’s apologizes (sort of) for yanking ads