Thursday, December 15, 2011

put your money where your morals are

By now you've probably heard about the controversy surrounding the reality show, All-American Muslim and Lowe's decision to pull out as an advertiser in response to Islamophobic pressure from the Florida Family Association. At the moment it seems that Lowe's and are the only companies who admit that they've been pressured into dropping their ads from the show, but the Florida Family Association claims to have influenced a much longer list of companies:

3M (Command, Scotchbrand tape),
Airborne Vitamin,
Amway, (says it has been misrepresented)
Anheuser Busch Inbev (Select55),
Art Instruction Schools, (says it has been misrepresented)
Bank of America (Cash Rewards), (says it has been misrepresented)
Bare Escentuals,
Brother International (Ptouch),
Campbell’s Soup, (says it has been misrepresented)
Capital One,
Church & Dwight (Oxi Clean, Arm & Hammer),
City Furniture,
Conagra (Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes),
Corinthian Colleges (Everst411),
Cotton, Inc.,
Cumberland Packing (Sweet’N Low), (says it has been misrepresented)
Dell computers,
Diamond Foods (Kettlebrand Chips),
Estee Lauder (Clinique),
ET Browe (Palmer’s Cocoa butter),
Gap, (says it has been misrepresented)
General Motors (Chevy Runs Deep),
Good Year,
Green Mountain Coffee, (says it has been misrepresented)
Guthy Renker (Proactiv),
Hershey kisses,
Home Depot, (says it has been misrepresented)
Honda North America,
HTC Phones,
JC Penney,
JP Morgan Chase (Chase Sapphire), (admits to cancelling ads)
Kellogg (Special K),
Koa Brands (John Frieda),
Leapfrog Enterprise (Leapster Explorer),
Lowe’s (admits to cancelling ads) *** now removed from list on FFA site with no explanation
Mars (Dove Chocolate),
McDonald’s, now removed from list on FFA site with no explanation
Nationwide Insurance,
News Corp (We bought a zoo movie),
Nintendo (,
Novartis (Theraflu),
Old Navy,
Pernod Ricard (Kahlua),
Pier One,
Pfizer (Centrum vitamin),
Procter & Gamble (Align Probiotic, Crest, Febreze, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Pur, Tide),
Progressive Insurance,
Prudential Financial,
Radio Shack,
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse,
SC Johnson (Drano, Glade, Scrubbing Bubbles),
Sears (says it has been misrepresented)
Signet (Kay Jewelers),
Sonic Drive-ins,
THQ (uDraw),
Toyota (Camry),
Vtech (Mobi Go, V Reader),
Whirlpool (Maytag) (says it has been misrepresented) now removed from list on FFA site with no explanation

The American Muslim: American Companies Accused of Joining the All-American Anti-Muslim Bandwagon - updated 12/14

MPAC: Action Alert: Stop Bigots From Pressuring Advertisers For TLC’s ‘All-American Muslim’

Loonwatch: All-American Muslim: Kayak Executive Robert Birge Issues World’s Worst “Apology” Ever

The idea of boycotting Lowe's, and the rest of the companies has got me thinking more broadly about the ethical implications of our purchasing decisions. Depending on the issues which are important to you (e.g. labor practices, support for Israel or other regimes, animal cruelty, genetic modification, sustainability, other environmental impacts, sweatshops, use of pesticides, etc.) it can be a challenge to go to the store without being complicit in one kind of wrongdoing or another. (There are even some smart phone apps out there to help you navigate as you shop)

Some other resources you may want to look at are:
Ethical Consumer: List of Active Boycotts
Palestinian Boycott Divest Sanction National Committee
AFL-CIO National Boycott List
Muslim Yellow Pages

The big picture lesson seems to be that small, locally-based, independent businesses are generally better than impersonal chains.

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