Lowe's stores face protests for pulling ads from 'All American Muslim'
Lowe’s Home Improvement stores pulled its ads from the TV show 'All American Muslim' when the obscure Florida Family Association objected to a positive portrayal of Muslims in the US. Protesters are expected to picket Lowe's stores around the country Saturday.
A nationwide protest Saturday against Lowe’s Home Improvement stores is standing the notion of advertiser boycotts on its head.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
Such boycotts generally punish advertisers for supporting negative programming, but the protests in Dearborn, Mich., and from Maryland to San Diego, seek to protest the decision by Lowe’s to pull its ads from a TV show, “All American Muslim,” whose message was essentially positive.
An inter-denominational group of Detroit-area faith leaders plans to picket Lowe’s Saturday in Dearborn, which has a large Arab-American population and is the location of the reality TV show. At a protest Friday in Paterson, New Jersey, protesters held signs that said "Don't Appease Hate Mongers" and "Discrimination is Low, Lowe's.”
"Most of the time, people are asking buyers to boycott stores that advertise on shows with negative portrayals of something,” said Robert Thompson, founder of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University in New York. “Here, they’re doing it for a positive portrayal.”
The reality show, which has appeared nationally on the TLC Network since its debut in mid-November, chronicles the daily lives of a group of Muslims in Dearborn.
But after pressure from the Florida Family Association (FFA), a Tampa, Florida-based organization that reportedly consists of its one founding member, David Caton, and is unaffiliated with any national organization, Lowe’s pulled its ads from the show. The FFA’s complaint? That the show exists primarily to normalize Americans’ views of Muslims, who in the FFA’s view, are dangerous.
“The Learning Channel's new show, All-American Muslim is propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims who are advancing Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia law,” says a statement at the FFA website. “The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.”
Several analysts say that although the FFA is appealing to base instincts of fear and hatred, the entire controversy has a brighter side.