California State Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance)
Ted Lieu has given Lowe's a proper smackdown after the home-improvement company pulled its ads from the Discovery Channel/TLC's All-American Muslim
show. The show depicts the lives of Muslim-Americans in Dearborn, Michigan. Lieu, a Democrat who represents Torrance in the California Senate, was righteously steamed in a letter sent Saturday to Lowe's CEO Robert A. Niblock. He labeled the decision "bigoted, shameful, and un-American" and "profoundly ignorant." And he called on the company to apologize, reinstate the ads or face boycotts and possible legislative action. He wrote:
"Lowe’s religious discrimination is the equivalent of a company asserting that it is pulling advertising from the Christian Broadcast Network’s 700 Club because the program somehow 'riskily hides' the agenda of Christian radicalized groups such as Aryan Nation. That assertion would, of course, be utter nonsense and religious bigotry."
After an if-we-offended-anyone-we're-sorry style of apology was posted on the Lowe's Facebook site, Lieu said it wasn't enough and that he planned to see if the company violated any state laws. He also said he might draft a senate resolution condemning the company's actions, according to the Los Angeles Times:
"We want to raise awareness so that consumers will know during this holiday shopping season that Lowe's is engaging in religious discrimination," Lieu said.
Lowe's is just one of what the Florida Family Association claims are 65 companies, including Home Depot, that have pulled their advertising from All-American Muslim. The association is another of those fire-and-brimstone operations preaching backdoor theocracy as Americanism, its stated goal to "defend, protect and promote traditional, biblical values." Included on its website, among other things, are the rants of noted Muslim-hater Pam Geller. In its critique, the FFA implies that that there is no such thing as an All-American Muslim and therefore the show pushes a Muslim agenda that includes imposing shariah law of "real Americans."
Lowe's posted a blah-blah-blah non-apology apology on its Facebook page:
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.
To which Kossack diarist therehastobeaway had a bullseye reply:
Are they for real, justifying bigotry by appealing to some false sense of equivalency between the argument that presenting real Muslim-American families as the American families that they are is somehow a threat to American values or puts our nation at risk and the argument that presenting real Muslim-American families as the American families that they are is, umm, completely uncontroversial and important in that it reminds us that fear is our biggest enemy? That Muslim American schoolteachers teach your kids arithmetic in school, Muslim American cops protect your children from predators, and Muslim American soldiers literally fight for your freedoms in all branches of our armed forces? That's controversial? That's hotly contested?
Buzzfeed has collected some of the worst comments from Lowe's Facebook post.
Lowe's has what ought to be an easy choice here. The same choice all Americans and American companies face: whether to stand against bigotry or to bend to the threats of the haters. Perhaps it might ask its Muslim employees how they feel about it. If it has any.