Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Russell Simmons Buys 'All-American Muslim' Ad Time Abandoned by Lowe's

Posted By on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 7:19 AM

Big news bombshells keep exploding fast and furious around All-American Muslim, the controversial first-season TLC reality series filmed in Dearborn. In the latest salvo, in the aftermath of Lowe's pulling its commercials from the show under pressure from an ultraconservative Christian group, hip-hop megamogul Russell Simmons says he has bought all the remaining ad space on the program and is calling for a boycott of the home-improvement giant.

"Just purchased remaining spots for #allamericanmuslim for next week," Simmons tweeted to his fans on Monday, Dec. 12. "The show is now sold out! keep your money @lowes and we will keep ours." Simmons says he will use the air time to promote his Visa Rush Card.

Lowe's is one of numerous advertisers who yanked their advertising support of All-American Muslim, which purports to depict the everyday lives of five Muslim-American families and airs at 10 p.m. Sundays, after being contacted by the Florida Family Association. According to the religious group's website, 65 companies have responded to its boycott and pulled their ads from what it calls a "propaganda show" that is "attempting to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad,"  although none has received as much public backlash as Lowe's.

The outcry prompted Lowe's corporate headquarters to issue a lukewarm, thinly-worded statement on the issue last week. "All-American Muslim has become a lightning rod for people to voice complaints from a variety of perspectives – political, social and otherwise," the release stated. "Dozens of companies removed their advertising from the program beginning in late November...We have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and we're proud of that longstanding commitment. If we have made anyone question that commitment, we apologize."

On Tuesday, Michigan Rep. John Conyers (D-Dearborn) jumped into the fray. The veteran congressman issued a statement which read:

"I am disappointed that a company like Lowe's would fall prey to the intolerance and fundamentally un-American values preached by a small, but vocal community. Lowe's Companies, Inc., should unequivocally apologize to the Muslim and Arab American community and strongly repudiate the intolerant messages espoused by anti-Muslim groups."

A petition created on the website signon.org and endorsed by Simmons had at last count amassed more than 19,000 signatures urging advertisers who were strong-armed into dropping the show to reconsider their decision. None of the advertisers who pulled their ads have indicated thus far that they intend to reinstate them.

Meanwhile, TLC appears to be standing firm behind the series, which will end its eight-episode debut season in January. Spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg told mlive.com that "the show is continuing, and there is strong advertising support for the show."

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