Lowes Hammered For Bowing To Ad Pressure

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Calls for a boycott against home improvement giant Lowes have been streaming in. The controversy involves Lowes advertising on the reality TV show All-American Muslim, which follows the daily lives of five Arab-American families in Dearborn, Mich. Lowes pulled its ads after a conservative group complained.


Criticism against the home improvement chain Lowes isn't letting up. It started after Lowes dropped its ads from the reality TV show "All-American Muslim" in response to pressure from a conservative Christian group. Now an online petition has nearly 20,000 signatures calling on the store to reinstate the ads. Lowes, in a statement, says simply, it is committed to diversity. NPR's Elizabeth Blair has the story.

ELIZABETH BLAIR, BYLINE: "All-American Muslim" follows the daily lives of five Arab-American families in Dearborn, Michigan.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Dearborn is a whole other world, number one most concentrated community of Arabs outside the Middle East.

BLAIR: Some of the women wear head-scarves. Some don't. There's a newlywed couple and families with children. There's a police officer and a high school football coach. Lots of TV critics, like Alyssa Rosenberg, a blogger for the, really like the show.

ALYSSA ROSENBERG: I expected it to be, you know, another sort of cheesy reality show, but it's a really diverting, charming, domestic drama.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I'm very worried about my wife now, in the effect that, you know, with this whole pregnancy she's becoming a little bit more stressed and she's becoming very sensitive to a lot of things.

BLAIR: The conservative Florida Family Association doesn't like the show.

DAVID CATON: Our concern with "All-American Muslim" is it does not accurately represent the term Muslim, which is a follower of Islam.

BLAIR: David Caton is the group's president.

CATON: And a follower of Islam believes in the radicalization, use of Sharia Law, which provides for honor killings, mutilation of women, and numerous other atrocities to women.

BLAIR: And when they called for advertisers to boycott, Lowe's pulled its commercials.

IMAD HAMAD: This is funny and stupid at the same time.

BLAIR: Imad Hamad is the Michigan director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

HAMAD: This is a series about American Muslims in America, and what he is looking for, they are not in America. If he wants a documentary or a series about extremists in different parts of the world, then the focus and the spin is totally different.

BLAIR: The Florida Family Association sent letters to more than 80 advertisers. David Caton claims that, in addition to Lowe's, dozens of other companies have also pulled off the show.

CATON: Home Depot was the first company to send an email to us and say we're not going to advertise again on the program.

BLAIR: Not so, says a spokesperson for Home Depot. Caton also claims Pernod Ricard pulled its advertising. Not exactly, says the liquor company. Both companies say they just didn't have any ads scheduled on any upcoming episodes. TLC says it stands by "All-American Muslim."


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: In our culture we don't normally have a rehearsal dinner. So having that opportunity to have both families come together ahead of the wedding, it's like going to a family barbeque.

BLAIR: An advertising boycott campaign can be harmful to a show that isn't very good to begin with, says critic Alyssa Rosenberg. But, she says, that's not the case with "All-American Muslim."

Elizabeth Blair, NPR News.

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