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In outrage over Lowe's controversy, moderation is drowned out
December 13th, 2011
09:02 PM ET

In outrage over Lowe's controversy, moderation is drowned out

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Lowe's knows that it opened Pandora's box when the company "managed to step into a hotly contested debate" by pulling its advertising from the reality TV show "All-American Muslim."

"Lowe's has received a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible," it said in a statement. "Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lightning rod for many of those views."

But "communication to the company" was far from the start of it. Almost anyone with an opinion, from bloggers to commentators and Twitters users, aired diverging views. And though the viewpoints getting the most coverage were from those with the biggest platforms, there is growing sentiment online that what Lowe's did was wrong but allowable.

The religion blog The Crescat exemplifies this point of view:

Company's have the right to decide how and where they wish to spend their money for advertising. If the intentions of Lowe's are bigoted and racist, so what? Then boycott Lowe's and shop at Home Depot instead or, even better, your local hardware store.

Lowe's pulled the advertising after groups including the Florida Family Association complained to the company. In its letter, the family group wrote that the show was not portraying Muslim Americans realistically. The letter also stated:

Clearly this program is attempting to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad and to influence them to believe that being concerned about the jihad threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.

What the family group wrote is not politically correct, one commenter at Yahoo wrote. But Lowe's is:

Free to spend their advertising money wherever they wish. The problem is it's not PC to do what they did and now are suffering backlash.

Arsalan Iftikhar, in a contribution to this blog, argues that this situation is more than just being politically correct; it is about bigotry. Would a major American company remove its commercials, he asks, from a show highlighting the lives of Latinos, African-Americans, Jewish Americans or members of the LGBT community?

Iftikhar, who has also used Twitter to espouse his beliefs on this situation, wrote:

If you think this kind of bigotry could not happen in modern-day America, you would be absolutely wrong.

In an interview with CNN's John King, David Caton, executive director of the Florida Family Association, commended the Lowe's decision, stating that the show was not fully defining the term "Muslim." Canton told King:

This show is totally absent the true essence of Islam, which is the focus of a Muslim believer. ... We believe this show is propaganda, and we have called on advertisers across the country to pull.

And even though TLC is not releasing the names of other advertisers that have pulled away from the show, according to Caton, Lowe's is not the only company to heed his organization's call.

And so the controversy continued online. Just hours after the news broke, a petition asked certain company leaders to repudiate calls to stop the advertising.

The petition was directed at companies from Clinique to Sonic, from Home Depot to Step & Shop. Organizers even planned to send the petition to Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.

The main argument as to why Lowe's decision is bigger than just Muslims is that it is a slippery slope toward more targeted, bigoted advertisement.

"No Christian Jewish Buddhist or Hindu should sit by and watch this w/out reacting," hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons tweeted.

That opinion was far from universally supported, though; it was just as easy to find someone commending Lowe's as it was to find someone criticizing the hardware giant.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Entertainment • Islam

soundoff (270 Responses)
  1. f

    "Arsalan Iftikhar, in a contribution to this blog, argues that this situation is more than just being politically correct; it is about bigotry. Would a major American company remove its commercials, he asks, from a show highlighting the lives of Latinos, African-Americans, Jewish Americans or members of the LGBT community?"

    No, because all of these groups far outnumber the Muslim in America and all of these groups (like white Americans) do not like the Muslims, so no on ereally cares. The real question to ask is: why did TLC feel the need to ever air such a program, who approved this program, and why hasn't the idiot in charge been fired yet?

    December 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  2. Snow

    I wonder if Florida Family association will block a program like "All American Christian Family".. 20 bucks says no.. and do you know what that says about FFA? Racists and Bigots.

    December 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Racist Bigot

      No one cares what you think, Snow.

      December 14, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
  3. Larry

    This Jew sides with the Muslims. I have issues with Muslims. Sometimes I might be a little prejudiced. But there is nothing wrong with portraying your community in a positive light.

    I'll keep on going to the falafel joint nearby to buy from the Muslims selling delicious Middle Eastern food. They're just stiffs like me, trying to make a living for themselves and their families. They might (or might not) have different political views from mine. That's their right.

    Shame on Lowes.

    December 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Shame on you jew! This jew hates you for your tolerance and open mind. Go back to the falafel place and hit the muslim man in the face, we all know that he's a terrorist, or funding a terrorist, or just making trips to the Middle East to help terrorism along.....right?

      December 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Actually, it's quite unnerving when the old man at the falafel place keeps calling Dulles airport to see if "it left yet".

      December 14, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  4. John

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_6PxnvaySw

    December 14, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • .....

      TRASH ALERT – don't bother viewing this garbage, click the report abuse link to get rid of the pathetic TROLL!

      December 14, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  5. hamsta

    i guess it makes me a bigot if im uncomfortable with a muslim on an airplane even though muslims flew the planes into the twin towers the pentagon and attempted to get the white house?face it muslims did that and they shoould be held accountable just like the german citizens where.

    December 14, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Primewonk

      The folks who flew planes into buildings were terrorists who happened to be fundamentalist Muslims. Just the Tim McVeigh was a terrorist who was Christian.

      December 14, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Troy

      Guess that means I should look to protect any near-by non-whites if I see a fellow Caucasian who happens to be Christian in the bed-linen aisle at Wal-mart, right? All white Christians who buy sheets are members of the KKK, right?

      December 14, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Troy,
      No, not all white Christians, but every member of the KKK is a white Christian, so there is a valid reason to keep an eye on white Christians.

      December 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Troy

      @Nonimus
      I know, I was making the same class of silly generalization as hamsta.

      December 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  6. Shadowflash1522

    You know, my problem with Lowe's is not that they pulled their advertising. Yes, I think it's generally not a good idea to let bigots get their way, but hey–I'm not the CEO of Lowe's, and I don't get to decide. My problem is that they turned it into a huge controversy. Lowe's could have quietly pulled their ads and most of us wouldn't even have noticed. I mean, can you picture some dud off the street sauntering into the boardroom and saying "...So I see you're no longer advertising on America's Next Top Model. Care to explain that?" We'd just assume that the station sold the time to some other company and move on.

    But no, they had to write an open letter and make it into this big production (media isn't exactly helping, for the record). The controversy is all a huge stunt - sure it'll drive some people away, but I'd bet a substantial portion of my not-so-substantial paycheck that they are getting easily as much in free advertising over this. Classy move, Lowe's.

    December 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • f

      100% correct. And further.. why did Lowes ever start advertising on this show? If it is not in Lowes taste now, what did they think the show would portray from the beginning?

      December 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  7. Hot Carl

    The older kid has that "deer in the headlights" kinda look. Maybe she's picking up on the hostility? Her parents should take her back to ...........where do these people come from, anyway? Islam? Muslimia?

    December 14, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Hot Carl

      The little kid looks like a young Muhammd Atta. What's he holding, a detonator?

      December 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • f

      Look at the little boy wringing his little future terrorist hands and smirking while thinking about how many will die at his little hand one day. HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE.

      December 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Primewonk

      And folks like the 2 of you wonder why people with at least 10 functioning neurons think of you as slack-jawed puppet-brained, morons.

      December 14, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Hot Carl

      The little boy is a future terrorist and Primewonk is a potential victim. Meanwhile, me and f will survive and live to see Primewonk meet his maker at the end of a dull knife.

      December 15, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  8. johngeisler

    Lowes does not care if they discriminate I have a speach disablity and quit going to lowes because I have had cashiers laugh at me ask me to write it down ,I go to Vanderbilt Voice for the very best no one any where else seems to have a problem understanding me .so this act by Lowes is right in line with the costumer service ! Just go to Home Depot they have great costumer service and treat people as people !

    December 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
    • bwuh?

      Did they tell you that you also have a writing disability?

      December 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  9. Doc Vestibule

    I'm glad that I can head to Canadian Tire instead of Lowe's.

    (cue idiot response from Captain America)

    December 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  10. Primewonk

    Lowe's has every right to spend their advertising dollars as they choose. Even if it means kowtowing to these bigots.

    Home Depot faced a similar situation when the AFA walked into a board meeting and tossed down half a million signatures demanding that Home Depot stop supporting equal rights, and start hating gay folks, like god intended. To their credit, the Home Depot board told these bigots to take a hike, and get out of their building.

    Everyone also has a choice where to spend their dollars. In a store that supports racism, hom phobia, and bigotry? Or in a store that supports equality for all citizens?

    I guess your individual choice depends on if you support hate and bigotry or not.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
  11. Fantasia

    Hello to all my wonderful fans!! Its Fantasia, your sweet nig ger girl and I just wantedt you all to know I need more welfare and food stamps cuz my fat ass just squeezed out a baby Nig Let. So come on and send my our love, suppoht and money.

    December 14, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Ignorant troll is ignorant.

      December 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  12. glen millinger

    what is next ...attack on jews?? just seems as of late ...a person's belief is under attack often...is it any of our business...what of Character???

    December 14, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • hippypoet

      Blacks are now a days judged by their character content, and they keep sending themselves to jail, prison, catching A.I.D.S. Most blacks are morally bankrupt, ie Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Cynthia Nig Ger McKinney etc.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ fake hippypoet – what kind of att itude do you have to have to justify impersonating other posters?

      December 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  13. glen millinger

    i lost guys in 9/11 ....fdny/nypd/ems....but this action from Lowes which they have a right to do ....is an act of cowardice and we in this land of the free ARE NOT COWARDS...we are all allowed to have the courage of own convictions....so what was Lowes conviction???and do they have courage.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • moas786

      God bless your mindset.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  14. Reality

    Summarizing:

    • There was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • hippypoet

      And anyone who wants, preferably black men, is welcome to piggy back on my hineyHole and give me a good buttSlammin!!

      December 14, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • hippypoet

      oh fake me, you are a creature of low standings and are sad for you are very lacking of creativity...tisk tisk. As much as the imiation is a compliment to me it is an insult to you. think about it.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • hippypoet

      *POOT* <-Think about that!!

      December 14, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  15. hippypoet

    what a perfectly evil yet awesome idea – piggyback on racists and bigotary in the media for extra advertising without having to pay the extra for the time slot...i am surprized that others haven't done this yet, i mean with this show...i'm sure others have done this in the past – its nothing new to get showcased by simply being there at the wrong place at the right time. Lowe's is getting biz from me just for the balls it takes to put yourself in the lime light via a nasty hatred fulled crowd!
    Do what you can because you can, if there is no law forbidding it then why not! Pioneers are not always remembered the best way but are always remembered, and as always any publicity is good publicity!

    December 14, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Paco

      You sound like a flower wearing, pot smoking, Ho~Mo~Hippy.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • hippypoet

      lol, none of those things are insults! I guess i will say thank you for the compliments. 🙂

      hugges and kisses

      December 14, 2011 at 11:55 am |
  16. W.L.Molloy

    Thank you CNN for the way you reported the story on Lowe's.You helped me to decide on where I will be doing my Christmas shopping this year.It will be at Lowe's.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • tallulah13

      I hope everyone on your list wants housewares.

      Frankly, I don't approve of the sort of bowing to discrimination that Lowe's showed. I will no longer spend my money at Lowe's. I'll go back to Home Depot.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • J.W

      I think that is a good idea tallulah. Nobody should shop at Lowes anymore. We will all boycott.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • tallulah13

      Men, meet me in the woods behind Home Depot for a deep oral massage on your hotWeiner.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Tallulah13

      Oh goody. Another silly little troll. Little troll, if you want to service strangers behind a store, I suggest you use your own name so that they can find you. Be sure to use protection.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  17. Nonimus

    I'm sure I'm going to butcher this statement but didn't someone once say that "infringing on the rights of one is infringing on the rights of all."

    December 14, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • moas786

      well said...

      December 14, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  18. noloman

    Here we go again the Government trying to force a perception on the rest of America regardless of our GOD given right to disagree and stand up for what WE THE PEOPLE believe in. Lets go over to any Muslim nation and lets do a Reality show on Christians living in their society and see how that fares! Hope you like executions, women with out rights and or a voice forced to comply with Sharai law. Wake up stop being so willing to give up the principles of your faith because of popular opinion I give Kudos to LOWES who stood up and did what they thought was right!

    December 14, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • Nonimus

      "Lets go over to any Muslim nation..."
      What does that have to do with anything?

      Didn't you mother ever say, "would you jump off a bridge if everyone else did?"
      Or, "just because they do it, doesn't mean you [should]"

      Grow up!

      December 14, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • Nedovo

      You violate the laws of a foreign country in person at your immediate peril.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • tallulah13

      noloman, your post was idiotic.

      The United States was built on the principles of individual freedom, including the freedom of religion. Why not defend that religious freedom instead of trying to diminish this country to the levels of those barbaric nations that don't allow it?

      December 14, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Shadowflash1522

      noloman, your analogy is totally inaccurate.

      These are not Muslims living in the US under a totalitarian Christian regime (not yet anyway, thank the gods!). They are Muslims living in a predominantly Christian nation with a strictly secular government. You wouldn't want to find a "Muslim nation", you'd want to find a country with a predominantly Muslim population and a secular government, and do a reality show about Christians living there. You can find them (look for American expats in Turkey), and the show would be totally uneventful because guess what: THEY'RE NORMAL PEOPLE.

      December 14, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  19. Kayla

    Just because someone calls themselves Christian, doesn't make them Christian. For a person to be a true Christian they must come to the realization that they are a sinner. They must accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and repent of their sinful ways. Then they must turn away from their old life and live the life that Jesus would have them live. True Christians are not perfect by any means but if they are TRULY born again Christians then they will strive to live their lives in such a way that people will see the love of Jesus working in their life.

    I know some of you will put me down for talking like this on this blog but that's ok. There's a scripture from the New Testament everyone should take into their heart and this is it: John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whom so ever shall beleive in Him(Jesus) shall have everlasting life.

    Whom so ever means everybody in the world.

    May everyone here on this blog have a blessed day.

    December 14, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • Gary from Ana

      Kayla, there are no true Scotsmen. Sound a bit familiar?

      Also, how is it possible for a god to "sacrifice" anything, when it could create it all again on a whim anyway, and why is it that a god had to get his offspring killed to save anything? You'd think that if your god were a real one, he could just do the saving in less than a blink of an eye, with no blood spilled.

      Maybe you should give your beliefs a closer examination.

      December 14, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Angus MacTabbert

      What d'ye mean there are nu true Scotsmen?
      I'm a TRUE Scotsman and I dare any of ye thrawn, ill-feckit gaberlunzies to come here and say it to me face!

      December 14, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • tallulah13

      Don't worry, Angus. We have no doubts about you. You can go back to enjoying your haggis.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Liam

      Any man who wears a skirt is clearly not a thinking man.
      Come at me, Angus! Show me yer pale thighs and see me die from laughter!
      I wear the pants in my family! Why don't you go play with the other ladies and leave the man-talk to us!

      December 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Angus MacTabbert

      Come meet me at Dreel's Tavern whenever yer little woman gives ye leave, little man! I'm here every evenin. Bring all yer skinny friends wit ye as well. There's plenty of room for skinny Irish in the back amongst the bins. Don't be late!

      December 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • hippypoet

      @Liam – just so ya know, men were the first to wear make-up, high heels, wigs, and jewelry...but why know things when you can be a moron and insult right. 🙂

      December 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Chuckles

      The real question is this.

      Who hates each other more out of the pairs below

      Americans vs. Canadiens
      Irish vs. Scots vs. English
      Australians vs. Kiwis (New Zealanders)

      My money is on the last pair. Ever seen Flight of the Conchords?

      December 14, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Liam

      Any woman who wants me to visit her in a pub had better shave her legs first, Angus! LOL

      December 14, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Liam

      So hippypoet, how's yer yank drug cartel treatin ya? Overdose yet? got all yer fine guns laid out for when they knock down yer door? Tell me about it and don't spare the details. I live for the mere pleasure of hearing what you have to say.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • hippypoet

      rebuttals like that put a smile on my face. 🙂 thank you for proving my point!

      December 14, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Angus MacTabbert

      Dreel's Tavern
      16 High Street West
      Anstruther
      Fife
      Phone: 01333 310727
      There ye go, Liam. Now let's see who's the better man.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • Liam

      Sure, Angus, I'll bring you one of those push-up bras too. It'll make a fine addition to your kit.
      Or you could just visit us in South Dublin.
      Any pub would be glad to buy a lady a drink provided her garters were in proper order.
      Just ask for Liam and be sure to let everyone know youre there to discuss your dress with any Irishman outside.
      They'll be glad to help you find your way home after a proper go round.

      December 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Fight! Fight! Fight!

      And thank god it's written out on this board or else I would most likely be hard pressed to understand a word either of them were saying.

      December 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • Angus MacTabbert

      Och, aye! I'll do that. Just be sure ye have none of yer IRA bombs as a backup and I'll find ye!
      The drinks are on me, by the way. Tell Mary to bring those brownies like last time.
      Mallory says she can't get them to puff up like hers. And tell Sean his coats still in the drink and he'll have to pay up or else.
      I see we've fooled some yanks again. Those yanks! Always thinking we're at each other's throat.
      It's a great thing to be a pair of trolls aye. 🙂

      December 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • Liam

      Mary's got a new dish and she's been making a sweater for your Chips. She says thank you and could you ever find it in your heart to forgive her for not making brownies this week. The hens have gone off their feed and we might be busy so she made something that doesn't require eggs.
      Sean isn't coming. He's got a thing.
      And yes it is always good to fool the yanks. I got a good laugh. Meet me in the tother blog and we'll have another go at it.
      hippypoet, thanks for the laughs man. I don't doubt that you were on edge now. Look me up and I'll buy you a pint and we'll have a good laugh together.

      December 14, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Chuckles

      To Random Angry Scotsman and Random Angry Irishman (Both sound sort of redundant, but whatever)

      If you want to laugh at a really funny joke, wait till we elect one of the nominations in the republican party next year. Americans have the funniest jokes, right?

      December 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  20. Joxer the Mighty

    Why does every article that even remotely deals with religion end up with a poo flinging match between atheists and those who believe in God? For you Christians out there, Atheists have made their decision so let God handle them. Always remember that Jesus taught that we are to love everyone and when he talked about the dangers of hell, he was usually referring to the pharisees and teachers of the law. They were religious people who doled out condemnation and judgement on people. That sounds like a lot of Christians these days doesn't it? You Atheists out there, I apologize that so many Christians are so judgemental. Not all of us are.

    December 14, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Joxer

      Impressive sir, a tip of my hat to you. I may not agree with your views on specifics, but I can totally back this post.

      I'm Chuckles and I approve this message.

      December 14, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Troy

      I'll tip my cap as well. I've been tagged by both groups (I'm pagan, so to the Christians I'm a Satanist and to the Atheists I'm still a crazy theist), and neither is as lily-white as they'd have you believe. I've also run into what amounts to a 'evangelical' atheist, the ones that say that everyone who doesn't become an atheist is insane and should be locked up. Why the two turn every article here into a slug-fest between them is beyond me.

      On the article, I have to say that Lowes has every right to do as they did, but they also have to own the decision and take responsibility for it. Don't give us half-hearted, weak, not-really apologies, either stand by the decision and take the bad PR or admit that it was bigoted and reverse it. Responsibility for one's self IS the American way!

      December 14, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.