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Lowe's hit by furor in 'All-American Muslim' ad flap

December 12, 2011 |  5:04 pm

Lowe's, the home improvement giant, may have painted itself into a corner over "All-American Muslim."

The company decided to yank its ads from the TLC reality series after a Florida evangelical group complained that "All-American Muslim" — which examines the ordinary lives and travails of Islamic families in the U.S. — promotes the "Islamic agenda."

After it caught flak for the decision, Lowe's issued a can't-we-all-get-along apology over the weekend. "Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lighting rod [sic] for many of those views," the company wrote on its Facebook page Saturday. "As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance."

Translation: We are allergic to anything controversial! Please keep buying nails and paint from us!

Actually, Lowe's eagerness not to offend anyone, anywhere, in any way, is a time-honored position for TV advertisers, whose mantels tend to be clear of any awards for moral courage or intestinal fortitude. And the ad move was purely symbolic, given that big companies like Lowe's buy commercial time in bulk through middlemen and are often unaware of exactly where the ads end up until someone complains — as in this case.

That's all moot now, though, because Lowe's has stepped in a manure pile. To critics, the company has become a symbol of corporate America caving in to an anti-Islamic pressure group. Lowe's drew nearly 15,000 comments to its Facebook post, many (but by no means all) of them derogatory. Variety's Brian Lowry criticized Lowe's for cowardice and urged consumers to boycott the company.

If Lowe's executives are really contrite, they should consider pulling all ads from "Jersey Shore." It's a safe bet no one would complain about that.


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Photo: Nawal Aoude and her husband, Nader, in the TLC series "All-American Muslim," which was hit by a Lowe's ad boycott. Credit: Adam Rose / Associated Press.