In a telling example of the power of grass roots when the American people decide to make their voice heard, A&E has dropped its “indefinite suspension” of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, and said the he will not be missing from a single episode of the show.
In an interview with GQ magazine, where an A&E representative was present on site, Robertson, a devout conservative Christian was asked about his views on homosexuality.
He responded that his personal preference was to have sex with a woman as opposed to a man, emphasizing “but that’s just me.” While Robertson’s choice of words were somewhat coarse, as even his own family admitted, he was essentially just declaring his sexual preference, like members of the homosexual community do. He then went on to paraphrase a bible verse to back up his opinion.
When news of the interview was revealed, GLAAD and other gay rights groups demanded that Robertson be fired and dropped from the show for quoting scripture and suggesting that homosexual behavior was sinful.
The network quickly acquiesced and announced that Robertson would be suspended indefinitely from the show. Duck Dynasty is the highest rated TV show of all time.
However, the network did not seem to have anticipated what happened next. While oftentimes individuals come out and offer some kind of apology for comments that are not politically correct, the Robertson’s did no such thing. Instead they rallied around Phil and suggested they would refuse to do any more episodes unless he returned.
Additionally a firestorm developed among the American people, including many who are not necessarily aligned with Robertson’s views on same-sex relations, who felt the homosexual lobby had gone too far when it chose to call for the firing of a man who said he was discussing his personal opinion.
The network was bombarded with calls for a boycott until they decided to rescind their suspension of Robertson. Cracker Barrel found itself facing the wrath of its customers as well after it announced it would stop carrying Duck Dynasty merchandise. Following angry reactions from its customers it announced it would once again be carrying the products.
In a statement on Friday, A&E said after having discussions with the Robertson family it decided to reverse its decision and Phil Robertson would not be suspended after all. The move was immediately decried by GLAAD who said the network was choosing profits over supporting the LGBT community.