Backlash for Lowe's as ads pulled from Muslim show

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lowe's Home Improvement has found itself facing a backlash after the retail giant pulled ads from a reality show about American Muslims.

The retail giant stopped advertising on TLC's "All-American Muslim" after a conservative group known as the Florida Family Association complained, saying the program was "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values."

The show premiered last month and chronicles the lives of five families from Dearborn, Mich., a Detroit suburb with a large Muslim and Arab-American population.

A state senator from Southern California said Sunday he was considering calling for a boycott.

Calling the Lowe's decision "un-American" and "naked religious bigotry," Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, told The Associated Press he would also consider legislative action if Lowe's doesn't apologize to Muslims and reinstate its ads. The senator sent a letter outlining his complaints to Lowe's Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Niblock.

"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," Lieu said.

The Florida group sent three emails to its members, asking them to petition Lowe's to pull its advertising. Its website was updated to say that "supporters' emails to advertisers make a difference."

The North Carolina-based Lowe's issued a statement apologizing for having "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."

The apology doesn't go far enough, Lieu said. The senator vowed to look into whether Lowe's violated any California laws and said he would also consider drafting a senate resolution condemning the company's actions.

"We want to raise awareness so that consumers will know during this holiday shopping season that Lowe's is engaging in religious discrimination," Lieu said.

Besides an apology and reinstatement of the ads, Lieu said he hoped Lowe's would make an outreach to the community about bias and bigotry.

Lieu's office said a decision was expected Wednesday or Thursday on whether to proceed with the boycott.

Lowe's said company officials are trying to make arrangements to talk directly to Lieu about his concerns and clarify the company's position.

Suehaila Amen, whose family is featured on "All-American Muslim," said she was disappointed by the Lowe's decision.

"I'm saddened that any place of business would succumb to bigots and people trying to perpetuate their negative views on an entire community," Amen, 32, told The Detroit News on Sunday.

Dawud Walid, Michigan director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said his group felt "extreme disappointment" at Lowe's "capitulation to bigotry."

Walid said he has heard expressions of anger and calls for a boycott by Muslims but said a key to resolving the Lowe's advertising controversy will be how non-Muslim religious leaders and others react to Lowe's decision.

"I will be picking up the phone tomorrow to some of our friends and allies to explain the situation to them," Walid said Sunday.

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Associated Press Writer David N. Goodman in Detroit contributed to this story.

Associated Press
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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  • by Mark Location: Loudon on Dec 18, 2011 at 09:12 AM
    Lowes was already hurting financially and this move was downright stupid. How completely "unAmerican" of them. I support the U.S. constitution and all that it stands for. This is a country for everyone, not just christians and if Lowes feels differently, maybe they should close up shop and move to Saudi Arabia or Iraq where the reliqion is forced on everyone.
  • by John Location: Tennessee on Dec 15, 2011 at 12:35 AM
    Now the Government is trying to tell businesses how to advertise. Give me a break. I for one applaud Lowe's for doing something based on morals. I'll shop there over Home Depot any day of the week.
  • by kesuke san Location: KNoxville on Dec 14, 2011 at 01:40 PM
    ""We want to raise awareness so that consumers will know during this holiday shopping season that Lowe's is engaging in religious discrimination," Lieu said." Uhhhh...you mean Christmas? Good thinking. Retailers should definitely not cater to any specific religious demographic during CHRISTmas.
  • by Scott on Dec 12, 2011 at 11:49 AM
    Lowe's advertises on a show and people get upset. They pull the advertising and other people get upset. Now a California senator wants to force Lowe's to reinstate the ads? It looks like Lowe's is in a no win situation with this one but they should be able to spend their advertising money as they see fit and not have some senator try to force them to spend their money the way he wants!
    • reply
      by Judy on Dec 12, 2011 at 08:04 PM in reply to Scott
      Yea Scott that's exactly right! I totally agree..

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