Hip-hop mogul — and practicing Buddhist — Russell Simmons is throwing his financial support behind the TLC reality series "All-American Muslim," tweeting on Monday that he is trying to purchase ad time during this week's episode of the show.
Simmons wants to use the time to advertise his prepaid Visa card, RushCard. But he said late Monday that he was having difficulty securing the ads ahead of Sunday's 10 p.m. broadcast of "Muslim."
"I'm trying to buy ads during
#AllAmericanMuslim airing this Sunday, but now they are saying they are sold out. I will keep trying …" he tweeted.
Simmons acted in response to home improvement chain Lowe's pulling its ads from "All-American Muslim." The company was pressured by the conservative evangelical group Florida Family Association to stop financially supporting the series. The FFA claims it is "propaganda clearly designed to counter legitimate and present-day concerns about many Muslims."
Lowe's said in a statement to TheWrap: "The TLC program 'All-American Muslim' has become a lightning rod for people to voice complaints from a variety of perspectives – political, social and otherwise. Following this development, dozens of companies removed their advertising from the program beginning in late November. Lowe's made the decision to discontinue our advertising on Dec. 5."
"We have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and we’re proud of that longstanding commitment. If we have made anyone question that commitment, we apologize."
Simmons is also backing a petition urging other companies to advertise during "All-American Muslim." Petition organizers reached their initial goal of 10,000 signatures on Monday, and, as of Tuesday morning, were 22,083 signatures towards their new goal of 25,000.
Meanwhile, the FFA's executive director, David Caton, told the Tampa Bay Times that hackers worked through 15 layers of security to breach its website, which forced his organization to shut it down Monday night.
The site now bears the message: "No further proof is needed of the potential for vicious action then [sic] exactly what these folks are trying to do to this web site!
"The attack has been extremely mean spirited. In a country that supposedly embraces free speech, those that oppose our postion [sic] have no qualms about destroying our free speech. Yet, these same folks claim the Internet should not be restricted in any way. How the two conflicting postions [sic] can be reconciled in their minds is beyond comprehension. Because of our real concern for the terrorism that is a way of life for some folks, we ourselves have become victims. Because we urge others to be vigilant, we become the targets. Don't let it happen folks, take a stand before it is too late. Please support Florida Family Association."