A Saturday demonstration outside of a Lowe’s home improvement store in a Detroit suburb brought out more than 150 local residents and religious leaders and even one state representative — all of whom were protesting the chain’s decision to pull its ads from the TLC reality show All-American Muslim after receiving numerous calls to do so by the Florida Family Association.
The group demonstrated outside of the Lowe’s in Allen Park, a Detroit suburb adjacent to the city where All-American Muslim is filmed.
The protestors chanted and held signs that read, “Boycott Bigotry” and, “Remember, All-American Muslims Shop” during the rally, which was attended by Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Detroit Democrat and the first Muslim woman elected to the Michigan Legislature, said it was “disgusting” for Lowe’s to stop supporting a show that reflects America – the conservatives, liberals and even “the Kim Kardashians” in the Muslim community, she said.
“We’re asking the company to change their mind,” said protester Ray Holman, a legislative liaison for a United Auto Workers local. He said he was dismayed that the retailer “pulled sponsorship of a positive program.”
A local rabbi extended his support to clergy at the protest and local Arab Americans, saying he and other Jews would have been at the protest had it not fallen during the Jewish Sabbath.
“I hope that they would likewise stand up and demonstrate should something outrageous like this take place against another religion,” Rabbi Jason Miller said in a statement.
Lowe’s spokeswoman Karen Cobb said Saturday that the company respected the protestors’ opinion.
“We appreciate and respect everyone’s right to express their opinion peacefully,” she said.
According to a press release sent out by People for the American Way, a handful of counter-protesters — including armed members of the Michigan Militia — came out to defend Lowe’s.
Critics have blasted Lowe’s for pulling its ads, saying that caving to a fringe group like the Family Association sets a negative precedent.
In a press release sent out last week, in which the group called on a complete boycott of Lowe’s, People for the American Way said that Lowe’s “should have ignored the canned emails and gone about its business,” but instead chose to cave “to a group of fanatics who want to make everyone live in accordance with their narrow and rigid religious beliefs.”