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Looks like the conservative Christian group Florida Family Association has finally succeeded in making a name for itself: first by
convincing Lowe’s it should pull ads from TLC’s All-American Muslim, then through the good fortune of Lowe’s admitting it had done so.
Until recently, FFA had been flying beneath the radar as a sort of poor-man’s version of the better-known Parents Television Council. Not that it craved its relative anonymity, it’s just that its campaigns weren’t generating a lot of press, and the victories it had claimed were suspect because advertisers usually didn’t acknowledge that they were dropping support of a TV show due to FFA’s efforts.
The FFA, for example, claims that 107 companies stopped advertising on Modern Family after FFA supporters sent e-mails complaining that the agenda of ABC’s hit show was to normalize same-sex relationships while characterizing heterosexual couples as abnormal.
Good luck, though, getting any of the show’s former advertisers to admit that FFA had anything to do with their decision to stop buying ad time on Modern Family. More likely they’ll say the ads ran their course and that was the end of it.
While the general public may not have been familiar with FFA, it has been known to entertainment public-relations executives who have had to deal with e-mails stemming from its campaigns.
For a few years, for example, FFA supporters have been e-mailing Disney and CEO Bob Iger their displeasure over Gay Day at Disney World being held during regular operating hours, as opposed to Grad Night and Night of Joy (a Christian celebration), events that are held after-hours.
“Please stop this offensive event from occurring in the midst of thousands of children by requiring that it be held after regular operating hours when thousands of children will not be in the park,” says an e-mail at the FFA site that visitors are encouraged to send to Disney and Iger.
Targets of the FFA also have included Degrassi, Glenn Martin DDS, RuPaul’s Drag Race, The Girls Next Door and E! True Hollywood Story: Jenna Jameson. In each case, advertisers were contacted and the FFA claimed at least partial victory when many of them stopped buying ad time on the allegedly offending shows.
As for the All-American Muslim campaign, FFA says that 65 companies pulled their commercials after its supporters sent thousands of emails, though it’s Lowe’s that generated controversy with its admission.
“We understand the program raised concerns, complaints or issues from multiple sides of the viewer spectrum, which we found after doing research of news articles and blogs covering the show,” a Lowe’s spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday.
On Monday, civil-rights entities and liberal politicians were denouncing the decision made by the giant home-improvement retailer, as were some celebrities. Mia Farrow, Russell Simmons and Kal Penn, for example, are urging boycotts of Lowe’s.
FFA’s problem with All-American Muslim stems from the work of a couple of conservative writers: Robert Spencer, author of The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran, and Pamela Geller, author of Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance.
“The main danger of All-American Muslim is that it’s misleading,” writes Geller in an article reprinted by FFA. “The Muslims portrayed in the show are free to choose their path. That is the beauty of living in a free society. But so many aren’t. … Who speaks for Jessica Mokdad, who lived not far from where this show is taping, in Dearborn, Michigan? Mokdad was honor murdered by her stepfather, Rahim Alfetlawi, for ‘not following Islam.’”
And Spencer writes: “All that All-American Muslim gives us is a denunciation of ‘Islamophobia’ featuring Muslims who could never have conceivably inspired any suspicion of Islam in the first place. The show is a bait-and-switch.”
Naturally, liberal bloggers are incensed over such criticisms of the show.
“It should come as no shock to you that the FFA is associated with evangelical Christians,” says an item at Jezebel.com. “The organization’s goal is to ‘defend, protect and promote traditional, biblical values.’ Ah yes, the Bible. The book that declares you may not wear a garment made of wool and linen.”
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