More than 25,000 comments poured onto a single post on Lowe’s Facebook page as it became a hotbed of debate: Should the home-improvement chain support “All-American Muslim,” a television show airing on the cable channel TLC, normally home to inoffensive cooking and fashion fare.
After a Florida-based Christian group criticized Lowe’s and other advertisers for running commercials during the new show, Lowe’s pulled its ads. In a post on Facebook, the company offered an apology: “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.”
But far from quelling criticism, that post was just the beginning of Facebook users’ unhappiness with Lowe’s.
The post received more than 4,700 likes. But reactions were extremely mixed. A few users identified themselves as Muslim Americans and said they would return recent purchases they made at Lowe’s. People who thought the move was insensitive called for a boycott of the chain store and heated discussions began to unfold on social media.
“Thanks for pulling your ads out of that awful All American Muslim show. You got my business and support!” wrote Rick Atkins.
“Biggots [sic],” Nick Austin wrote. “I will not shop in your stores.”
The Florida Family Association had kicked off the controversy by calling “All-American Muslim” “propaganda” and claimed that the show, which follows five American Muslim families in Dearborn, Michigan, “poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish.” Some echoed the association’s views, while others argued strongly against its stance.
The controversy spread beyond Facebook. On Twitter, “Lowe's” was mentioned almost 15,000 times on Dec. 11, according to Topsy.com. Two weeks ago it scored less than 1,000 mentions.
Photo by Dave Dugdale