Kayak says it will stop advertising on TLC's "All-American Muslim" not because of pressure from conservatives, but, in the words of Kayak's chief marketing officer, because the show "sucked."
Hardware chain Lowe's has taken criticism for pulling its ads from the series after the conservative evangelical group Florida Family Association called on advertisers to stop supporting the series.
The FFA claims the show is "propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims."
Robert Birge, chief marketing officer for travel Web site Kayak, said his company received "angry emaisl" about its decision to advertise on the show, which prompted him to look into it. He didn't like what he saw, he said — and it had nothing to do with "propaganda" or pressure from outside groups.
"I watched the first two episodes. Mostly, I just thought the show sucked," Birge wrote on Kayak's corporate blog. "Based on our dealings with TLC and the simple assessment of the show, I decided we should put our money elsewhere."
He said TLC had misrepresented the series when pitching it to Kayak. Rather than pulling its ads, Birge said, Kayak decided not to re-up when the show returns in January.
"The first thing I discovered was that TLC was not upfront with us about the nature of this show," Birge wrote. "As I said, it's a worthy topic, but any reasonable person would know that this topic is a particular lightning rod. We believe TLC went out of their way to pick a fight on this, and they didn't let us know their intentions. That's not a business practice that generally gets repeat business from us. I also believe that it did this subject a grave disservice. Sadly, TLC is now enjoying the attention from this controversy."