The controversy surrounding Lowe’s withdrawal of its advertising from TLC's reality show “All-American Muslim” continues, with backlash intensifying after the home improvement retailer published a message on its Facebook about its “commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
Lowe’s pulled its commercials after a conservative Christian group expressed its discontent with the company choosing to advertise during a show that portrays American Muslim families in Michigan as “ordinary folks.”
The program offers a look at the customs and celebrations, misconceptions and conflicts these families face outside and within their own community, according to TLC's website.
The Florida Family Association (FFA) described “All-American Muslim” as propaganda. “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,” the group said in a statement on its website.
After the FAA complained, Lowe's promptly withdrew its ads from the TLC program, drawing a wave of criticism across the nation.
In a Dec. 10 statement on its Facebook page regarding its decision, Lowe's wrote: “It appears that we managed to step into a hotly contested debate with strong views from virtually every angle and perspective – social, political and otherwise – and we’ve managed to make some people very unhappy. We are sincerely sorry. We have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, across our workforce and our customers, and we’re proud of that longstanding commitment."
The statement has attracted more than 28,000 comments, with many visitors expressing fury with Lowe's for its decision and statement.
“I won't be shopping at Lowe's as a result of the pulled advertisements. It is entirely hypocritical to say you have a commitment to diversity and inclusion in the same post in which you say that you are _excluding diverse_ content from your advertising,” one commenter replied.
There were also accusations of racism.
“I'll not be shopping at your stores anymore. It seems that racism is alive and well with your business,” another commenter wrote.
Many voiced their discontent with what seems to them a violation of tolerance and religious freedom.
“After all america is the supposed land of the free and opportunity.... All religions are welcome to exercise their rights choices and freedoms.... All that we ask is that you give the same respect and tolerance to those who do not follow...or even agree with yours or anothers religion. Dont force it on others... criticize others that dont share in your ideas...or same beliefs... Bash them because they are loyal to their own beliefs and faiths and traditions... Because thats exactly whats going on here,” a comment reads.
Kamal Nawash, president of the Free Muslims Coalition, also spoke out about Lowe's decision, telling The Christian Post Monday, “I think Lowe's decision was unjustifiable and a complete shock. Muslims are a diverse population and people often disagree within the same family. 'All-American Muslim' was able to capture the similarities of Muslims to the general America population while capturing their uniqueness.”
California Sen. Ted Lieu is just one of several politicans who have criticized the retail giant's decision, calling the move “bigoted, shameful, and un-American,” as quoted in The Los Angeles Times.
Several other politicians have reportedly called the FFA a fringe hate group, while the group insists its goal is to “defend traditional American biblical values.”
Despite the backlash, the Mooresville, N.C.,company said Monday that it plans to stick to its decision.