When TLC first announced the launching of the "All-American Muslim" reality show in July of this year, it quickly landed on the radar of the fringe anti-Islam/Islamophobia industry here in the United States. These are the same people who successfully attacked Whole Foods and Campbell's Soup for introducing a Halal line of products, targeted to practicing American Muslims, and whose bigoted activities are well-documented in a report published by the Center for American Progress titled "Fear, Inc." These groups, spearheaded by the likes of Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer of "Stop the Islamization of America," and others, acted swiftly to hijack the public platform created by the show, so that they could spew hatred of the most heinous and reprehensible kind against Muslims and Islam, all while selling books and speeches calling to their fringe cause.
"All-American Muslim" premiered in November to critical acclaim from The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, Time Magazine, The Atlantic, USA Today, and others, not to mention in posts and articles from notable conservatives such as Melissa Crawley of Daily Republican News, blogger Matt Lewis of the Daily Caller (who invited and interviewed an "All-American Muslim" cast member), and Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood and to a record 1.7 million viewers. Yet no sooner had it premiered than the anti-Islam/Islamophobia industry frantically urged their supporters to contact the network's advertisers and demand that they pull their commercial spots from that hour on TLC in an attempt to strangle the show off of the air. Before a single advertiser could confirm or deny their position, the Florida Family Association touted that advertisers were fleeing the show "like rats from a sinking ship," clearly aware that the greatest advantage of this invented "whisper campaign" lies in its ability to plant the seeds of doubt in the minds of future advertisers for the show.
Let it be known that the virus of extremism is not exclusive to any one group of people, as is increasingly evident from the hate-mongering climate that has gripped some across our nation. And that mainstream American voices of all backgrounds are our most viable cure today. It is time for all of us as Americans to once again say no to hate-mongering and bigotry. United, we must reach out to the corporate executives and decision-makers of these big brands--from Home Depot to T-Mobile and from Amway to Stop & Shop--to get their positions on the record, while demanding that they publicly repudiate bigoted calls to stop advertising during "All-American Muslim." We believe that a concerted effort to gain the support of these companies can force steam out of a bigoted industry--that aims to cause deeper rifts between Americans and between global citizens.
That's why I signed a petition to Kristen Kurtz, Media Relations Contact, SWEET'N LOW, William P. Lauder, CEO, CLINIQUE, William J. Gentner, CEO, JOHN FRIEDA HAIRCARE WORLDWIDE, Michael Duke, CEO, WAL-MART, K-MART, Robert F. Moran, CEO, PETSMART, James Dyson, CEO, DYSON VACUUMS, Steven C. Lieberman, VP & Managing Director, AMWAY, Carl Schlicker, CEO, STOP & SHOP, Jamie Dimon, CEO, JPMORGAN CHASE, Robert Dotson, CEO, T-MOBILE, HTC RADAR PHONE, CENTRUM, Frank Blake, CEO, HOME DEPOT, J. Clifford Hudson, CEO, SONIC, Glenn A. Britt, CEO, TIME WARNER CABLE, Adam Miller, Executive VP, Corporate Affairs, NBC NEWS, Lauren Knapp, Senior Vice President, NBC News Marketing & Communicaitons, NBC NEWS, PRO-ACTIV, AIRBORNE SUPPLEMENTS, THE LION KING, KETTLE CHIPS, TRUE BLUE TEST, KAYAK.COM, KAHLUA, TRUMOO, KINECT, Edmond J. English, CEO, BOB'S FURNITURE, FREE COUNTRY CLOTHING, NORTH SHORE/LIJ HOSPITAL and Melissa Danforth, Senior Director, Communications and Membership, LEAPFROG, which says:
"We the undersigned, as concerned Americans and as your consumers, call for your continued advertising support during TLC's unscripted series, "All-American Muslim."
While no television program can possibly fully represent an entire community, the portrayal of five American families in Dearborn, Michigan has deeply positive repercussions and results—reinforcing shared values of family, friendship, community, and coexistence that are universal to all of us—whether we are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, or of any other belief system represented in the United States.
We ask that you work to stand up against the bigots of the anti-Islam/Islamophobia industry, whose most concerning complaint is that the show is intent on humanizing American Muslims—as though humanization were not an American value.
These bigoted viewpoints reek of self-interest, do not represent the American mainstream, and do not speak for any political party.
The visible aim of those who have threatened the show's supporters is to propagate hatred against fellow Americans because of their religious beliefs, while increasing the success of their own bigoted industries. Ultimately, it is these same critics who have often touted the question: "Where are the mainstream Muslims?" We believe that "All-American Muslim" portrays just that—mainstream American Muslims—and that these critics should celebrate an effort like this, not condemn it. Yet their reactions leave no more proof necessary of their actual, hate-mongering intentions. And we believe that America and our American companies are above that.
To date, Lowe's has been the only company that has allegedly caved in to bigoted pressure, going on record to state that it would not continue to advertise during "All-American Muslim" because the TV show "did not meet its advertiser guidelines. [Lowe's] will pull [its] advertising on shows if [it] learn[s] there are issues raised from a broad spectrum of customers and viewers who represent multiple perspectives, which Lowe's understands was the case in this situation with this particular show." As yet, it is unclear as to which "multiple perspectives" were represented in the complaints, and such information has not been made available to the public eye. This raises grave concerns about the integrity behind the decision.
Lowe's Chairman Robert A. Niblock recently pointed out that "while leadership is always important, it's even more critical in challenging times." He was right. We ask that you show true leadership by ensuring that you do not cave in to support for this bigotry, and by letting the public know that your company will not bow to the demands of any bigoted interests, but will instead defend our cherished American values of pluralism, respect, a prevention of discrimination based on race and religion, and an openness to learn about the other without the flawed industries of fear, hatred, and intimidation reigning over us as a society.
As concerned Americans and as your consumers, we request that you stand up for our American values, and fight back against bigotry and fear-mongering, by publicly repudiating calls to stop advertising during TLC's "All-American Muslim.""
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