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More than 24,000 Americans expressed outrage that advertisers were pulling their sponsorship of TLC’s hit series “All-American Muslim” in response to a smear campaign from anti-Muslim groups. Their petition called upon advertisers to continue to back the series.
The news ignited a firestorm of activity on television, radio, and social media sites, with thousands of supporters directing their disappointment at Lowe’s. Lowe’s is the only company to publicly acknowledge that it has pulled sponsorship of the show. However, the Florida Family Association, which originated the boycott action, also claims that other companies have pulled their ad support of the show.
“We are disappointed to see religion used as a tool to create division and foster fear. Efforts by hard-line religious organizations to scare American national companies from advertising on ‘All-American Muslim’ are fueled by fear and bigotry,” said the Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, President of Auburn Seminary. Auburn is leading a multi-faith effort to stand up for religious freedom through its social action initiative, Groundswell.
“American companies that are rumored to have pulled their ads from ‘All-American Muslim,’ should immediately tell their consumers whether they—like Lowe’s—have also caved into these bigoted demands, or if they are standing up for an America where people of all faiths and identities can flourish.”
Meanwhile, a growing number of high-profile Americans, such as music mogul Russell Simmons; Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN); actress and human rights activist Mia Farrow; actor and comedian Kal Penn; Newark Mayor Cory Booker; actress Heather Graham; model, designer and producer Kimora Lee Simmons;
The Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi; CNN anchor Erin Burnett; president of The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding Rabbi Marc Schneier; Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy; actress Reagan Gomez; and California State Senator Ted Lieu are among the growing list of outraged Americans who have appealed to the show’s sponsors to reverse their decisions and continue to advertise on the groundbreaking series.
“Lowe’s really couldn’t have gone any lower,” said Justin Ruben, Executive Director of MoveOn.org, which is promoting the petition through its massive membership. “There is no place for discrimination in America, and no American company should cave to the demands of an extremist group spouting bigotry against American citizens.
Lowe’s should reverse their decision to withdraw their advertising from ‘All-American Muslim,’ and issue an apology immediately.” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, said, “Lowe’s has chosen to uphold the beliefs of a fringe hate group and not the creed of the First Amendment, which guarantees the free exercise of religion.
This is disappointing since the success of ‘All-American Muslim’ shows how ready the country is to learn about Muslims as Americans, which probably makes hate mongers uncomfortable—as they should be. Our nation’s history is full of examples demonstrating how we have repeatedly torn down false divisions hate groups choose to create.
But the struggle against bigotry and hatred must continue so we never give in to intolerance like Lowe’s Corporation has done.” Valarie Kaur, director of Groundswell, said, “It’s troubling that some seek to use anti-Muslim bias as a tool of oppression or to score political points. What gives me hope is knowing that there is a groundswell of Americans who are tired of the politics of fear.
We are hungry to see ourselves in one another. ‘All-American Muslim’ is the quintessential form of modern American storytelling, a reality TV show. Stories can save us and bring us hope and make us human to each other. This is the moment we ought to stand up for the kind of storytelling that can transform the social imagination.”
“All-American Muslim” airs on TLC on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT and explores the lives of five American Muslim families from Dearborn, Michigan, who share a common faith.