The Lowe’s Boycott

by Shannen W. Coffin

Jonah’s post this morning was the first I had ever heard of the TLC show All American Muslim, so I have nothing to say about the show or its content. But a story on Politico this morning caught my attention. A Democratic legislator in California has announced a personal boycott of Lowe’s home-improvement stores in his district because, according to the story, Lowe’s has pulled advertising from the TLC after complaints about the show from a group called the Florida Family Association. The lawmaker decried the “bigotry” involved in the store’s decision to pull advertising.

That California lawmaker is Ted Lieu, who is a former law-school classmate of mine and someone I have long considered a friend. = Ted is an honorable guy who served his country as an Air Force JAG officer. He’s also a very smart and capable guy, having served as president of Georgetown’s main law review. But Ted is grandstanding just a tad here. 

Ted is apparently is “looking into” whether Lowe’s broke any laws in pulling its commercials. “I haven’t actually come out to say they’ve broken any law. I’m looking into it,” he said, but added, “Lowe’s couldn’t fire one of their employees because they learned that person practiced Islam, and so therefore the person poses a ‘clear and present danger.’ So the question is, can Lowe’s could pull their advertising for that reason?”

Let me save you some time, Ted. Yes, they can. There are federal laws prohibiting religious discrimination in employment, but last I checked, not even California had prohibited decisions not to advertising on cable reality shows because some religious-based group complains. I suspect Lowe’s won’t suffer that much if Ted buys his plungers and garden supplies at Home Depot, but I think he can save his time “looking into” the legal implications of Lowe’s decision.

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