They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker
Under pressure from the right-wing group the Florida Family Association, the hardware store Lowe's pulled its ads from the TLC show All-American Muslim, which follows the lives of several Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan. In a rather flimsy apology, Lowe's said that "individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic" and "we've managed to make some people very unhappy."
Though Lowe's is so far the only company to get the Jon Stewart treatment for pulling its ads, it certainly isn't alone.
Kayak, the travel site, issued an apology after the New York Times reported on its decision to stop its own ads on the show, though the company maintained that it wasn't because the show is about Muslims.
Kayak had initially tweeted as an explanation: "We believe it had good intentions, but we also understand concerns about specific content, so we excluded it from our ads with TLC."
But then in a statement titled "We Handled This Poorly," Kayak's Chief Marketing Officer Robert Birge said that the company "would like to apologize to anyone who was offended by how we handled our decision not to continue advertising on All-American Muslim when it returns in January. We decided to advertise on it in the first place because we adamantly support tolerance and diversity."
Birge continued that they didn't "pull" the ads, "but we have made the decision not to give TLC more money when the show returns in January." Birge explained that after receiving angry e-mails about the ads, he determined that TLC misrepresented what the show would be:
TLC was not upfront with us about the nature of this show. As I said, it's a worthy topic, but any reasonable person would know that this topic is a particular lightning rod. We believe TLC went out of their way to pick a fight on this, and they didn't let us know their intentions. That's not a business practice that generally gets repeat business from us. I also believe that it did this subject a grave disservice. Sadly, TLC is now enjoying the attention from this controversy.
It's unclear from the statement exactly how the show was misrepresented or what Birge had expected from it, but he does add another reason for stopping the ad campaign: "Lastly, I watched the first two episodes. Mostly, I just thought the show sucked. Based on our dealings with TLC and the simple assessment of the show, I decided we should put our money elsewhere."
Kayak did not respond to TPM's questions about its other advertising venues, though presumably they do not suck.
Though Lowe's itself has been facing criticism from Stewart and other high-profile figures like rap mogul Russell Simmons and actor Kal Penn, they have of course managed to shore up support among the Islamophobic blogger set.
The anti-Islam group ACT! For America put out a petition for people to pledge their support for Lowe's, Right Wing Watch reports. "We believe that American businesses should be free to make advertising decisions without fear of repercussion from radical Islamist groups," the pledge says.
"And the bigots and haters over at Hamas-linked CAIR, an unindicted co-conspirator in a terror funding case that has seen several of its officials convicted for terror-related crimes, are crying 'bigotry,'" wrote Robert Spencer of JihadWatch. "Apparently Lowe's, since it initially advertised on the misleading All-American Muslim show, must advertise on it forever or be cast out of politically correct Paradise. In a sane world, this would be called a shakedown."
Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs wondered why rap mogul "Russell Simmons is shilling for supremacism. Who'd a thunk it?" She also encouraged readers to "PLEASE SHOP LOWES. And send a word of thanks to Lowe's Corporate for their decision to drop the show's sponsorship."
And Cathy Carlson of the California Republican Assembly told the conservative news site OneNewsNow: "Lowe's is a business -- and yes, it's the right business decision."