TLC’s “All-American Muslim” continues to be a lightning rod for controversy, with self-immolation from advertisers who were accused of bigotry for pulling their ads from the reality show. The most recent advertiser to explain the decision to pull ads defended his choice: It wasn’t bigotry, the show just “sucked.”
That’s the statement from Robert Birge, chief marketing officer of the travel Web site Kayak, in a letter he posted on his site. Titled “We handled this poorly,” he says that the company’s decision had nothing to do with bigotry, but rather, the company felt misled about how confrontational the show would be. “Mostly, I just thought the show sucked,” he wrote. “Based on our dealings with TLC and the simple assessment of the show, I decided we should put our money elsewhere. Apologies again.”
After the Florida Family Association targeted Lowe’s, the hardware store chain was under attack from both directions when it decided to pull its ads. Racist comments from supporters of the chain piled up on its Facebook page, while those who claimed the chain was bigoted started a campaign to find better advertisers for the show. Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons was among those who tried to purchase ad time.
Does saying a show “sucked” nullify accusations of bigotry, or fan the flames?
Related: The Daily Show’s “Muslim correspondent,” Aasif Mandvi, chimes in.