Lowe's, the giant home improvement store chain, stepped into a controversy that no organization would ever wish for—charges of religious intolerance—after pulling its advertising from the TLC show All-American Muslim.
The show premiered in November and follows the lives of five families from Dearborn, Mich., a Detroit suburb with a large Muslim and Arab-American population.The ads were pulled after conservative group Florida Family Association complained to Lowe's, stating that All-American Muslim was "propaganda that riskily hides the Islamic agenda's clear and present danger to American liberties and traditional values."
According to the group's leader, David Caton, the show doesn't address that "99.9% of Muslims agree with the principles of Sharia law," which is the restrictive religious code that Caton and others warn leads to the spread of Islamic extremism.
Lowe's rather curious decision to pull the ads has brought a wave of criticism from the politicians, celebrities and the general public. In response, Lowe's issued an apology on its Facebook page, which currently has 4,136 likes and 22,160 comments. Here's part of the apology: "Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lightning rod for many of those views. 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."
In essence, Lowe's prefers to stay away from any controversy, but in trying to do so, got itself into more trouble than if it had done nothing. It will be interesting to see how this move will affect Lowe's business during the holidays—and its reputation in the long term.