PR Mess: Lowe’s Rushes to do Damage Control After Pulling Ads From TLC Show

National hardware retailer Lowe's has pulled its advertisements from the TLC show "All-American Muslim." (Image source: TLC)

Earlier this weekend, we reported on the decision by Lowe’s to pull its ads from the TLC show “All American Muslim:”

“While we continue to advertise on various cable networks, including TLC, there are certain programs that do not meet Lowe’s advertising guidelines, including the show you brought to our attention. Lowe’s will no longer be advertising on that program,” the Lowe’s representative said.

However, since announcing that they would be pulling their ads from the TLC show, Lowe’s has been met with a flurry of heated criticism.

The company has issued a statement stating that it is sorry that its ad-pulling decision “managed to make some people very unhappy.”

PR Mess: Lowe’s Rushes to do Damage Control After Pulling Ads From TLC Show

Lowe's Facebook

“Some people” includes a California state senator (who’s exploring whether Lowe’s decision violated any laws), Def Jam founder/Foundation for Ethnic Understanding chairman Russell Simmons, and millions of Americans, reports Gawker.

“Lowe’s community manager has probably been chugging aspirin-infused milkshakes all weekend considering the thousands of critical comments people have posted to the company’s Facebook,” the Gawker report continues, “Though given the radio silence on the company’s Twitter feed, maybe that person quit their job altogether.”

As mentioned in the Gawker article, a state senator from Southern California said Sunday that he was considering calling for a boycott.

Calling the Lowe’s decision “un-American” and “naked religious bigotry,” Sen. Ted Lieu (D-CA) told The Associated Press he would also consider legislative action if Lowe’s doesn’t apologize to Muslims and reinstate its ads. The senator sent a letter outlining his complaints to Lowe’s Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Niblock.

“The show is about what it’s like to be a Muslim in America, and it touches on the discrimination they sometimes face. And that kind of discrimination is exactly what’s happening here with Lowe’s,” Lieu said.

PR Mess: Lowe’s Rushes to do Damage Control After Pulling Ads From TLC ShowPictured above: Sen. Ted Lieu and Russell Simmons

Although Lowe’s issued an apology, Lieu said it doesn’t go far enough.

“We want to raise awareness so that consumers will know during this holiday shopping season that Lowe’s is engaging in religious discrimination,” he said.

Besides an apology and reinstatement of the ads, Lieu said he hoped Lowe’s would make an outreach to the community about bias and bigotry.

Lieu’s office said a decision was expected Wednesday or Thursday on whether to proceed with the boycott.

Lowe’s said company officials are trying to arrange to talk directly to Lieu about his concerns and clarify the company’s position.

Suehaila Amen, whose family is featured on “All-American Muslim,” said she was disappointed by the Lowe’s decision.

“I’m saddened that any place of business would succumb to bigots and people trying to perpetuate their negative views on an entire community,” Amen, 32, told The Detroit News on Sunday.

Dawud Walid, Michigan director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said his group felt “extreme disappointment” at Lowe’s “capitulation to bigotry.”

Walid said he has heard expressions of anger and calls for a boycott by Muslims but said a key to resolving the Lowe’s advertising controversy will be how non-Muslim religious leaders and others react to Lowe’s decision.

“I will be picking up the phone tomorrow to some of our friends and allies to explain the situation to them,” Walid said Sunday.

Given the nature of the show and its subject material, and Lowe’s decision to pull its ads, can anyone really say they’re surprised by the subsequent backlash?

In case you’re curious, here’s a taste of the show on TLC:

The Associated Press contributed to this story.