Home / Featured / Muslims, Supporters Mobilize Against Lowes For TLC Ad Pull

Muslims, Supporters Mobilize Against Lowes For TLC Ad Pull

Muslims and other outraged consumers are flexing their social media muscle over the news Friday that the home improvement chain Lowes pulled its advertising from TLC's “All American Muslim” TV series after pressure from a Florida-based right wing conservative group.

The Twitter hashtag #LowesHatesMuslims developed overnight, and while semantically not ideal, it seems to be the one with the most traction at this hour. The twitterstorm for boycotts and/or action by Lowe's is increasing, with high profile figures such as Russell Simmons joining the call.

Friday morning as the story broke, interfaith writer and activist Chris Stedman pressed the company via Twitter on their decision, drawing out the only two Tweet responses so far from Lowes:

“We did not pull our ads based solely on the complaints or emails of any one group. It is never our intent to alienate anyone,” tweeted the company, followed shortly thereafter by “Lowe's values diversity of thought in everyone, including our employees and prospective customers.”

As of Saturday morning, these two lawyered-up corporate responses remain the company's only Twitter response on the issue. Lowe's Facebook page also shows no response at this time, though many are posting on their wall are recopying and posting a message on their wall to express their opposition to the company's decision (a “Boycott Lowe's Home Improvement” Facebook page has also sprung up). There is no statement or press release on the Lowe's site either, as of this writing.

From a professional public relations perspective, Lowe's public response indicates a lack of a good crisis communications plan. Without detailing the chinks in their armour — as I have no desire to strengthen their strategy at this stage — that lack of planning does indicate a certain corporate vulnerability. Also noteworthy is the fact that the company succumbed easily to pressure from the Florida group, which indicates some corporate attention to consumer buying power and interests — so continued and increasing pressure should yield results.

The key will be in numbers: the objective will be to show Lowes management that those outraged over the company's decision far exceed the constituency that called for the ad pull. Alert your non-Muslim friends and allies to this issue and encourage them to participate.

Muslim organizations have also sprung into action: MPAC pulled together a good summary and action alert replete with links; ICNA also stepped into the mix with helpful, specific information. An online petition is also circulating.

Moving forward, MPAC makes the wise assessment on their alert page that it will be important to determine the status of other companies targeted to pull ads by the Florida group. There is the legitimate possibility that ads may have been bought for only one or two episodes, but if it comes to light that ads were pulled due to this pressure, then a call for boycotts of such firms would also be in order.

Such actions by Lowe's flies in the face of the increasing business bandwagon of “Corporate Social Responsibility.” Indeed, Lowe's actions seem to not be very consistent with their own CSR spin.

Reminding companies via your shopping power that bigotry and bias are not good business decisions is beyond a Muslim issue — it's an ethical call that people of all faiths can understand.

Update: At about 4:45 pm EST, Lowe's fianlly posted on their FB page the following response:

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.

Lowe's has received a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible. Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lighting 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.

We strongly support and respect the right of our customers, the community at large, and our employees to have different views. If we have made anyone question that commitment, we apologize.

Thank you for allowing us to further explain our position.

It's an inelegant (notice the typo) way of offering an apology while spinning their original cave to pressure. It will rally and comfort who support their position, but does little to indicate a sincere re-evaluation of the ethics behind their choice.

In an email from a Lowe's representative posted on the Florida group's page, a Lowe's rep states “there are certain programs that do not meet Lowe's advertising guidelines, including the show you brought to our attention.” Without access to those guidelines, it's not possible to verify the truthfulness of their response.

But their ethical choice remains — and so does anybody's decision where to shop.

About Mustafa Stefan Dill

With nine years experience in mainstream news media -- first in radio, then web and social media for both print and television -- Mustafa Stefan Dill was an early advocate and practitioner for applying social media techniques to mainstream journalism. Dill has lectured on online journalism and social change at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bangalore, India and has been featured in Online Journalism Review, The Media Center's Morph blog, J-New Voices, motherpie.typepad.com, and participated as a panelist in a national web seminar by the American Press Institute. In August 2010, Dill planned his escape from the newsroom environment launched a new consultancy offering PR, social media and new media strategies for a wide range of clients, with a specialty in serving Muslim and interfaith organizations and NGOs working in Muslim regions. Dill reverted to Islam in 2002.

19 comments

  1. A time will come when discriminating against Muslims will be just as bad as discriminating against jews or blacks…. and Lowe’s Home Improvement will go down in history as a bigoted corporation that at one point hated Muslims!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • I am glad that you are standing up for you you beleive in.Lowes is doing the same thing they fire their employess over. They will fire you if you say something offensive. Good luck with the lawsuit.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Here is their Facebook post on this issue

    http://www.facebook.com/lowes/posts/10150413478416231

    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.

    Lowe’s has received a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible. Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lighting 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.

    We strongly support and respect the right of our customers, the community at large, and our employees to have different views. If we have made anyone question that commitment, we apologize.

    Thank you for allowing us to further explain our position.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Mustafa Stefan Dill

    i just saw this too…. I’ll update the article.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Haytham. I make du’a that you and I live long enough to see, and enjoy, such a day. Aamen.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Thanks for keeping us updated on this issue!

    Lowe’s hasn’t placated me with their milqetoast comments.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. HomeDepot may not be a better option to take your business to though considering they did the same thing: http://floridafamily.org/full_article.php?article_no=109

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. As you can see by the name ” It is the Lowest one can get in a civil society”. That’s why their name is Lowes and the “t” is missing. Trust is missing. I know all intelligent people will not trust Lowes for buying their products at their stores to keep their dignity as a human being.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. If Home Depot did the same. There are other stores to buy these products. ACE Hardware, Menards and Big Lot and they are NOT BIGOT like LOWES and HOME DEPOT It is Christmas time and you have options. GO AND BUY AT ACE HARDWARE, MENARDS and BIG LOTS . They have GREAT TOOLS at Great Prices

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. For Whom it may concern,

    From what I’m witnessing, you’re all probably flooded with responses and may not even reach mine to read this. Hopefully you do. First I would like to say is, I see both perspectives on the side. I am a Muslim, I was born in the Middle East however I was raised in the States. Growing up in America was a blessing, according to my family. Meanwhile, I feel at home in the states culturally because of my religion and culture. My first perspective is the American way, yes, I do know that every American and non – American citizens are crushed with what had happened at 9/11, may all who died Rest in Peace and may God send his blessings down to their family members. But, you cannot blame a group of Muslims for what happened. I agree, the background of Muslims and the Qurran have some violence. Then again, so did most other religious groups back in the days fighting for their rights for their own religion. I’m getting off track and rambling on and on, but isn’t America known for being the glorious country since 1776? Isn’t America the melting pot? According to Ted Liue, the State Sen, he called the move “bigoted, shameful, and un- American” (Source – http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-lowes-muslim-20111213,0,5909694.story) Do you know what’s shameful? What’s shameful is going against the First Amedment this country has formed. Amedment one, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to asssemble, and to petition the Government for the redress of grievances.” Such a beautiful Amedment, am I correct? I have to agree, not much voice of a man, woman, or child can be heard in the Muslim countries. That’s why Muslims are settling in America. I don’t know about the small ratio of Muslims who don’t like America. However, the majority, like myself and my family adore America for what it is known for. I know that Lowes is not prohibiting the free exercise and all, but looking back into history how African Americans where treated in America , I’m sort of feeling this treatment right now. What happened to the gorgeous melting pot? Why such hate against ALL Muslims? Should we hate Christians because the KKK considered themselves that they are Christian and base their doctrines upon their own ideas of the Old Testament in the bible? No, we should not. You cannot blame ONE group of a certian race/ethnicty/religion for half the world’s population. All I’m saying is, what really is bigoted, shameful, and un – American is what Lowes did. Lowes, you made us Muslim Ameicans look embarresed. How are we all supposed to settle in this beautiful country with all this hate among us? First, the people, now the local stores? Honestly, I felt like this move was NOT a positive impact, it was a negative impact. Thanks for taking the time to read through this and I hope you get another perspective on this situation. I’m proud to be a Muslim, and I’m proud to be an American.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Poor Lowes. This just proves you can never make everyone happy. They pulled their ads to avoid controversy. Advertisers avoid controversy like the plague. They do not pick sides, they just do what they can to avoid the crossfire. This strategy has obviously backfired for Lowes, at least with the American Muslim community. Sometimes it is best just to do nothing.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. I just wanted to share this letter my husband sent to a Lowes representative as a result of their pulling ads from the TLC show. I am not able to post the picture on this website but if you would like to see it I’d be happy to email it. Thanks!

    Dear Mr. Niblock,

    I am a person who certainly understands business decisions.  I am also
    one who generally does not react to most things of this nature
    because, as a Muslim in America, this is only a few strokes from being
    par for the course.  I am specifically speaking of your company
    pulling advertising from the TLC show All-American Muslim.  I am not
    foolish enough demand you advertise again since, after all, this is
    the land of the free.  I personally am not even a great fan of the
    show.  I am, however, offended that your company is so ashamed of the
    “average” Muslim that you have to pull advertising from such a benign
    show.

    For this reason I ask you cancel my $10k line of credit to your store.
    I have also included a picture I took from the parking lot of your
    Sanford, NC store on  April 16, 2011.  I left my family that day to
    come provide volunteer physician oversight to the tornado destroyed
    Lowes rescue effort.  While I may never set foot in a Lowes store
    again, you can tell your employees and customers that even though you
    fear your affiliation with people like me, I will be waiting again
    with open arms outside your business to help if, God forbid, disaster
    strikes again.

    Sincerely,

        Ayaz Pathan, MD, MBA
        Diplomate,  American Board of Emergency Physicians

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply

Scroll To Top