After Lowe's got flack for bending to the will of the Florida Family Association, pulling their ads from TLC show All American Muslim, other companies are denying they cut advertising from the program that the FFA says "poses a clear and present danger to the liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish." The Florida group claims it has had success in its campaign to take down the TLC reality show that follows Muslim families in Dearborn, MI. But, of the 65 companies the Christian activist organization alleges support their cause, at least three deny having taken action against the program, report Media Decoder's Stuart Elliott and Brian Stelter.
While Kayak.com has joined Lowe's, removing its commercials from TLC, Campbell's Soup, Sears and Bank of America say their ad moves had nothing to do with boycotting the show, company spokespeople told Elliott and Stelter. The denials come as Lowe's faces backlash from the media, politicians, celebrities and angry customers. AdWeek called Lowe's out for not monitoring the conversation of their Facebook comment explaining their reasoning, which shows thousands of supportive, yet racist comments. The Guardian called their claim about responding to complaints from a "broad spectrum of consumers" "wishy-washy." Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison chided Lowe's telling The Telegraph, "corporate America needs to take a stand against these anti-Muslim fringe groups," he said. On the celebrity front, Russell Simmons has taken on the cause, buying up the lost ad time, ensuring that All American Family doesn't suffer. And "concerned Americans" have since started a counter-petition at SignOn.org, asking signers to "stand up against the bigots of the anti-Islam/Islamophobia industry, whose most concerning complaint is that the show is intent on humanizing American Muslims--as though humanization were not an American value."
Critics are particularly awed by the FFA's reasoning behind their cause. The FFA calls the show "propaganda" that "riskly hides the Muslim agenda." But, as a reality program that follows regular Muslim Americans, it attempts to eradicate these very stereotypes: That all Muslims are Al-qaeda recruits. As usual, Jon Stewart put it well on The Daily Show last night. "The problem with the show is the absence of radicals. The problem is the televising of Muslims without the terrorist element. You're angry about that? ... Why would you be upset to learn that there are non-Jihadi Muslims?"
Update 12:00 p.m.: In a statement titled "We Handled this Poorly," Kayak.com is distancing itself from Lowe's too, explaining that its reasoning had nothing to do with the FFA. Kayak Chief Marketing Officer Robert Birge claims that the company did not pull advertising because of the FFA, but rather because he "just thought the show sucked." Birge explains that TLC did not present the nature of the show to Kayak accurately. After this deceit and an "assessment of the show," Kayak decided against future ad deals with TLC. The company actually didn't even cease its ads for the current season, Birge explains.
We 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. Our 150-person team includes people from all over the world, and from all walks of life. Our team includes people who are descended from early Europeans who came here escaping religious intolerance, and newer Americans who include many religions. We get what America is about.
For the record, we didn't "pull" our ads. Our ads kept running on this program, but we have made the decision not to give TLC more money when the show returns in January.
You can read the full apology here.