Home-improvement retailer Lowe's is facing a backlash after pulling its advertising from "All-American Muslim," a reality show on Discovery Communications' TLC.
Lowe's said last week that it was backing out of advertising on "All-American Muslim" after a group called the Florida Family Association had complained, calling the series "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values."
Russell Simmons answered with angry tweets saying the retailer had endorsed hate by pulling out of the show and could face a boycott. MoveOn.org began a petition urging advertisers to continue supporting the show. A California state senator told the Associated Press that Lowe's decision was "un-American" and "naked religious bigotry."
Lowe's responded to the response by apologizing for "having managed to make some people very unhappy" but did not reinstate its advertising.
"All-American Muslim," which debuted last month, follows the lives of a handful of Muslim families living around Dearborn, Mich. A Discovery Communications spokeswoman said the program continues to generate support among "strong advertisers" and added that the company supports the program.
It is not clear whether Lowe's is pulling advertising from the network or simply placing it among other programs on the TLC schedule. Lowe's spent approximately $2.6 million on advertising on TLC between January and the end of October of this year, according to Kantar Media. TLC ranked tenth among cable networks on which Lowe's purchased ad dollars.
Lowe's spent approximately $201.5 million on TV advertising through the third quarter, according to Kantar Media.
Media outlets focusing on Arab themes have run into challenges elsewhere. Al Jazeera English, for example, has for many years found gaining carriage from U.S. cable and satellite distributor a daunting task.