In a brazen act of cowardice, the home improvement giant Lowe’s buckled to the right-wing Florida Family Association’s (FFA) demand that it pulls ads from TLC’s reality show “All-American Muslim.” The company issued a generic policy statement that called the show a “lightning rod” for complaints, insisting all the while that, “We have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
Americans across the country are voicing their concerns with Lowe’s prejudice. Religious advocates and even entertainers including Kal Penn, Russell Simmons, and Mia Farrow are urging a boycott of the company. So incensed over Loew’s “un-American” and “naked religious bigotry,” California state Sen. Ted Lieu (D) is boycotting the company and is looking into (unlikely) legal ramifications of Lowe’s decision:
“Lowe’s is engaged in religious discrimination… it is utter nonsense, it is religious bigotry, and I’m just stunned that Lowe’s pulled their advertising,” he said. “Those views from the Florida Family Association are completely bigoted.” [...]
“If the show was called All-American Asian, or All-American Jew or All-American Latino, don’t you think the outcry would be a lot different? For some reason, people seem to think that it’s okay to discriminate against Muslim-Americans, and I’m just trying to say, ‘no, it’s not,’” he said.
Other lawmakers, including Muslim pioneers, are equally disgusted with the company:
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN): One of two Muslim House representatives, Ellison blasted Lowe’s for choosing “to uphold the beliefs of a fringe hate group and not the creed of The First Amendment.” He added, “Corporate America needs to take a stand against these anti-Muslim fringe groups and stand up for what is right because this is what it means to be an America.”
Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN): Also a Muslim representative, Carson said Lowe’s decision “runs contrary to our American ideal of combating expressions of hate and division while defending those oppressed by intolerance.”
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI): A strong advocate against religious discrimination and the representative of the town in which the series is filmed, Conyers demanded the Lowe’s “unequivocally apologize to the Muslim and Arab American community and strongly repudiate the intolerant messages espoused by anti-Muslim groups.”
State Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI): The first Muslim elected to the Michigan legislature, Tlaib wrote Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock, “I told them I was extremely disappointed that you give credibility to these hate groups.”
Hip Hop mogul (and Buddhist) Russell Simmons purchased ad time during this week’s episode of “All-American Muslim” to counter Loew’s. In doing so, ad time for this Sunday’s show is “now sold out.” The computer hacking group Anonymous also contributed to the effort by “working through 15 layers of security to breach its website,” forcing FFA to shut it down Monday night.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council has published a full list of companies that FFA claims it persuaded to pull ads from the show. The list includes Airborne Vitamin, Bare Escentuals, Campbell’s Soup, Capital One, Cotton, Inc., Dell computers, Estee Lauder, Gap, Good Year, Hershey Kisses, Ikea, JC Penny, Kayak.com, McDonald’s, Nationwide Insurance, Old Navy, Pier One, Radio Shack, Sears, T-Mobil, Volkswagen, Wal-Mart, and Whirlpool. Click here to see the full list.
Today on the House floor, Connecticut Rep. Chris Murphy (D) joined these lawmakers in their outrage. Noting that FFA’s “anti-Muslim bigotry is not new,” he blasted Loew’s, a “fortune 100 company,” for “endorsing this nonsense.” “This is a major American company rubberstamping basic, foundational bigotry,” he said. Watch it: