200,000 People Call on Lowe’s to Reinstate Advertising on Muslim Reality Show
Earlier today, local pastors in the Charlotte, NC area delivered over 200,000 petition signatures to Lowe’s (headquartered in Mooresville, NC, outside Charlotte), calling on the company to reverse its decision to pull their advertisements from “All American Muslim,” a new reality show on TLC showcasing American Muslims in Michigan. Faithful America’s petition signatures were presented alongside similar petitions from CREDO Action, Change.org, Groundswell, Sum of Us, and People for the American Way.
The decision was made by Lowe’s because the show became a “lightning rod of controversy.” According to the Lowe’s representative who spoke today to the media after the petition delivery, the Lowe’s team decided to pull the ads independent of pressure from the Florida Family Association (an anti-Muslim fringe Religious Right group which led a public effort against Lowe’s’ advertisements on the show) and rather based their decision on “negative chatter… on social networks” before they even received an FFA email.
I can’t begin to fathom why Lowe’s thought that “clarifying” the source of the right-wing bigotry the company caved to (random right-wing Twitter or Facebook users versus an organizational effort from the Florida Family Association) would assuage the concerns of these 200,000+ people. More than nonsensical, this explanation is actually insulting to hundreds of thousands of people who are outraged by Lowe’s’ decision.
What’s more, reports from today’s meeting indicate that prior to the controversy, Lowe’s had conversations about how buying a block of advertisements on TLC but excluding the All-American Muslim show would violate their anti-discrimination policy. They failed to explain how subsequently pulling their ads fails to do the same.
Rev. Dennis Teall-Fleming, a Faithful America member and pastor of Open Hearts Gathering in Gastonia, NC, who led the petition delivery, pushed Lowe’s on this explanation, asking whether they would’ve done the same thing if the “controversy” were anti-Semitic complaints about the depiction of a Jewish family or racist objections to a show about African-Americans.
Lowe’s deflected the question, continuing to insist that their decision was unconnected to specific right-wing pressure and instead linked to “general controversy,” a completely unsatisfactory response.
Again, unless Lowe’s wants to produce any evidence to the contrary, there was only one “controversy” here and it was manufactured by a handful of anti-Muslim extremists and their followers. Lowe’s’ decision legitimizes these people’s fringe conspiracy theories and fuel suspicions and discrimination against American Muslims. This is more serious than a simple business decision — it has implications for millions of American Muslims and our nation’s record of interfaith acceptance and cooperation.
Faithful America’s members and the other hundreds of thousands of concerned Americans will be watching — they won’t let Lowe’s off the hook until the company makes clear its commitment to pluralism and tolerance by reinstating their advertising on “All American Muslim.”