A North Carolina newspaper is reporting that Lowe’s will not back down from its decision to pull commercials from TLC’s All-American Muslim, a reality show that offers a positive portrayal of Muslim life. Its initial move to yank the spots came after a Christian group in Florida encouraged members to email the program’s advertisers because of how the show excludes “many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.”
“The decision was absolutely not, despite what’s been reported in the media, influenced by any one group,” said Lowe’s vice president of marketing, Tom Lamb. He said that the decision to stop advertising on the show had been made before the Florida Family Association emailed Lowe’s CEO, Robert Niblock.
Lamb’s statements were made after the company met with North Carolina clergy members who delivered a petition from people opposed to the retailer’s decision to pull commercials, according to the Charlotte Observer. Lowe’s is based in Mooresville, N.C.
Lamb told the Observer he was “surprised” that the Christian group was credited with pressuring Lowe’s, which made the “routine” decision to pull the ad. A spokesman says the first spot aired Dec. 4 as part of a bulk buy. (TLC didn’t specify which shows the ad would appear in). Within 24 hours, negative feedback about the TLC show had appeared on the company’s social media sites, so the decision to pull the ad was made shortly thereafter.
“We’re surprised at how much happened and how quickly it happened in the context of an advertising decision,” Lamb said.
Previously, Lowe’s 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.”
Meanwhile, the Florida Family Association claims that more than a million people sent emails companies who advertised on the TLC show and asked them to stop.
Lowe’s apologizes (sort of) for pulling ads