by Matt Lacy –
A recent decision by Lowe’s to stop advertising on a Muslim reality show has prompted a fierce backlash, with one California lawmaker threatening the company with legal action if they do not reinstate their ads on the show.
Following complaints by the Florida Family Association and members of the public, Lowe’s Home Improvement decided to no longer advertise on TLC’s All-American Muslim show. Lowe’s is not the only advertiser to cancel its ads. Currently some 65 companies have chosen to stop advertising on the show.
The show, which follows five families in Dearborn, Michigan, has been criticized by some for ignoring violent elements of Islam such as the honor killing of Jessica Mokdad and the arrest of Christians attending an Arab family festival open to the public. Four Christians, who were attempting to engage in peaceful dialogue with those attending the festival, were arrested for disturbing the peace. One of those arrested was a young woman who was not interfering with officers in any way, but simply videotaping the event.
The decision to choose not to advertise on the Muslim show has been called “bigoted, shameful and un-American” by California State Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance. Lieu has called on Lowe’s to apologize to Muslims and reinstate the ads.
In a letter sent to Lowe’s Chief Executive Officer, Robert Niblock, Lieu said, “Lowe’s action is bigoted, shameful, and un-American. 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.”
Lieu continued, “The fact that some people commit murder or other extreme acts in the name of a peaceful religion—whether Christianity or Islam or Hinduism—does not somehow give that religion an ‘agenda’ that would be a ‘danger’ to ‘American liberties and traditional values.’ In fact, it is Lowe’s bigotry that poses a danger to American liberties and values.”
Caught between a rock and a hard place with various groups being offended whatever decision they made, Lowe’s issued a statement on its Facebook page regarding the cancellation.
“It appears that we managed to step into a hotly contested debate with strong views from virtually every angle and perspective — social, political and otherwise — and we’ve managed to make some people very unhappy.”
“Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lightning rod for many of those views,” the statement said. “As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance.”
Lowe’s also said in a Twitter post that the decision to pull the ads was not “based solely on the complaints or e-mails of any one group.”
Lieu has it is not enough for the company to simply apologize, and if the company doesn’t reinstate its ads on the show he would consider legislative action against the company.
Lieu also said Lowe’s also needed to actively reach out to the Muslim community and apologize for cancelling the ads.
The Gazette contacted Lieu’s office asking what type of legislation he had in mind if Lowe’s did not restore their ads.
Ray Sotero, a spokesman for Lieu said that any legislative action would probably begin with a resolution. “We haven’t made a final decision, we have heard from Lowe’s and they want to work something out.”
When asked if the legislation mentioned could eventually develop into legal sanctions of some type, Sotero said “I don’t think he has that in mind. It just depends. We’re taking this one step at a time.”
The Gazette asked why Lieu was singling out Lowe’s for action when over 60 other companies have also refused to advertise after the first episode. Sotero said he did not know.
Lieu is currently unavailable for comments on the issue because he is on active duty with the reserves last week and this week.
Robert Spencer, president of Jihad Watch said it was incredible that a legislator would say to a company that they must advertise on a particular TV show.
“Apparently Lowe’s, since it initially advertised on the misleading All-American Muslim show, must advertise on it forever or be cast out of politically correct Paradise. In a sane world, this would be called a shakedown.”
Sotero said they Lowe’s had the right to advertise wherever they wished. “They can do whatever they want to. We can’t control whether a company decides they want to advertise in a particular venue or not.”
The Gazette asked if he felt the backlash from both sides, could cause companies to simply not bother advertising on controversial shows like All-American Muslim in the first place, Sotero said he did not think so.
“If a company were to avoid controversy they wouldn’t advertise at all. Everything’s controversial, whether it’s the Super Bowl or the Macy’s bra ads in the newspaper.”
Lieu is expected to make a decision later in the week regarding what action to take if Lowe’s does not resolve the issue.