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According to The Charlotte Observer, ministers from the interfaith Mecklenburg Ministries presented Lowe’s, Inc. with petitions signed by 200,000 parishioners urging the company to begin advertising on the show again. The company met with the representatives for more than an hour, but rebuffed their request. Yet, the ministers said they appreciated that the company took the time to discuss the issue with them.
“There’s a way to engage in responsible dialogue,” Rev. James Leach says. “Even when we think we have a deep disagreement.”
Despite the controversy the ad pull has created — including a boycott, a commercial parody gone viral, and celebrity protesters including Kal Penn, Mia Farrow, and Russell Simmons — the company defends its decision. It was, however, taken aback by the response.
“We’re surprised at how much happened and how quickly it happened in the context of an advertising decision,” Lowe’s vice president of marketing Tom Lamb tells the paper.
Lamb characterizes the pull as a routine business decision and one that was not made under pressure of evangelical Christian group, the Florida Family Association (FFA).
“The decision was absolutely not, despite what’s been reported in the media, influenced by any one group,” Lamb tells the paper.
According to the company, the All-American Muslim promo time was part of a bulk ad buy, though they understood the show following Muslim residents of Dearborn, Mich. could be included. He also says the decision to pull the ads was made on Dec. 5 shortly after their social media team identified negative comments on the show that morning. The company says Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock received the initial email from the FFA later that same afternoon.
Lowe’s spokesperson Chris Ahearn says that the company responded to the FFA with a form letter explaining the ads had already been pulled. She also says that decisions to pull commercial spots from shows that are considered controversial are made perhaps 8-10 times a year. The company declined to name other shows it has pulled its advertising from.
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