December 12, 2011 1:18pm PT by Jethro Nededog
Lowe's Issues Problematic Apologies After Pulling Ads From TLC's 'All-American Muslim'
After much controversy over its decision to pull its ads from TLC’s All-American Muslim, Lowe’s issued a couple problematic apologies.
On Saturday, the company posted a lengthy statement on its Facebook page acknowledging that it had “[stepped] into a hotly contested debate.” Read the full statement below:
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.
There are a couple problems with the apology. The company acknowledges that instead of sticking to its guns amid “a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible,” it decided to pull its ads. So, in effect it caved in to those who believe the company shouldn’t support the show over those who support the show and its portrayal of the Muslim-American community in Dearborn, Mich.
Also, the “apology” doesn’t say that the company acknowledges that it was wrong to pull its advertising from the show – only that they’re sorry they made anyone angry with the decision.
On Monday morning, EW posted a much shorter version of the company’s apology. That statement echoes many of the same sentiments in the previous statement with one big difference. It tries to show that it held out longer than “dozens of companies” that removed their advertising in November when the series premiered. The full statement is below.
As you know, the TLC program All-American Muslim has become a lightning rod for people to voice complaints from a variety of perspectives – political, social and otherwise,” the company said. “Following this development, dozens of companies removed their advertising from the program beginning in late November. Lowe’s made the decision to discontinue our advertising on Dec. 5. As we shared yesterday, we have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and we’re proud of that longstanding commitment. If we have made anyone question that commitment, we apologize.
So, does the fact that the company held out longer than others change your opinion on its decision to pull its advertising? Or is it merely trying to spread the blame?
A TLC spokesperson declined to comment or confirm on other advertisers who may have pulled out of the show in November. They did tell The Hollywood Reporter, "We stand behind the show All-American Muslim and we're happy the show has strong advertising support."
Critics of Lowe's' decision include hip-jop mogul Russell Simmons, actress Mia Farrow, who both called for boycotts via their Twitter accounts, and California State Senator Ted Lieu. Lieu asked the company to reinstate its advertising on the show or face a boycott campaign.
The Florida Family Association, which has spearheaded a campaign to urge companies to pull its advertising from the TLC show since November, claims 65 companies have already done so. Their list includes 3M, Subaru, Capital One, and Old Navy.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro