The hardware chain Lowe’s is standing behind its decision to pull ads from the TLC reality series All-American Muslim, despite protests and petitions imploring the company to reinstate them.
In an interview with the Charlotte Observer, the company’s vice president of marketing, Tom Lamb, said the decision did not come as a the result of an email campaign launched by the Florida Family Association.
The Family Association objected to the show’s portrayal of American Muslims as “ordinary folks just like you and me,” and had put pressure on many of the companies advertising during the program.
Reps from People for the American Way have called for a boycott of the store, arguing that it “set a dangerous precedent” and “caved to bigotry” by removing its ads. But a spokesperson says that Lowe’s had made the decision to stop advertising on the show before the Family Association emailed Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock.
Via the Observer:
Lowe’s spokeswoman Chris Ahearn said the show’s first ad to run on “All-American Muslim” on Sunday, Dec. 4, was part of a bulk buy, in which the retailer buys a set amount of time on a network but doesn’t specify the shows its ads will appear on. Ahearn said Lowe’s was aware one of those shows could be “All-American Muslim,” but was not concerned.
On the morning of Monday, Dec. 5, Ahearn said that a member of Lowe’s social media team brought negative chatter about the show to management’s attention that was appearing on social networks. The decision to pull the ads was made shortly afterwards, Ahearn said, and communicated to TLC through Lowe’s ad-buying agency.
That afternoon, Ahearn said, Lowe’s CEO received an email from the FFA about “All-American Muslim.” The company responded with a form letter confirming the ads had already been pulled, Ahearn said.
Lamb said he was “surprised” that the FFA was credited with pressuring Lowe’s into pulling its advertising, a move he characterized as a routine decision. Ahearn said Lowe’s changes its ad line-up dozens of times a year, and will pull ads from shows deemed controversial perhaps eight to 10 times a year. She did not provide any specific examples of other shows Lowe’s has pulled ads from recently.