(Long Island, NY) Duck Dynasty, the record breaking reality series, will undergo significant change – albeit – temporarily, as controversial comments by the star of the show Phil Robertson, leave him suspended. The show, aired on A&E, pulls in more than 12 million viewers a season making it the no. 1 nonfiction series in cable history.
Phil Robertson, image credit: Facebook where a user posted: “A real man who will profess the Holy word and love of Jesus openly and publicly. Of course they are going to try to hush him up or take him off the air. Bless you Phil Robertson for being one of the true ones.”
For now, the 67-year-old star stands firm on the comments he made about homosexuality to GQ magazine saying he was simply quoting from the Bible; that homosexuality is a sin and that Jesus could save gay people.
During an interview for a featured article in GQ’s January 2014 issue, titled, “What the Duck?” Phil was asked what, in his mind, he felt was sinful. Robertson answered by saying:
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality [sexual activity between humans and animals], sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. It seems like, to me, a vagina- as a man- would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
A&E reacted to the fast-growing controversy, immediately suspending Robertson and releasing a statement saying: ‘We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. ‘His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.
Shortly thereafter, major retailers began knee-jerk reactions quickly pulling Duck Dynasty-themed products from shelves out of fear of what might come next. Duck Commander is the official brand of the company in West Monroe, Louisiana, where Phil Robertson is Founder and President. The company manufactures duck-hunting merchandise and accessories, which is the theme of the reality the show with episodes built around the sport.
Cracker Barrel was one retailer which quickly reversed its decision just two days later when it said its consumers weren’t shy about letting their voices be heard. A Facebook page called Phil Robertson Support was created by fans which gained over 1.7 million likes within days; its members are pushing for an entire boycott of the A&E channel. The Facebook page states:
This page is to show support for the freedom of speech of Americans. Unless Phil is reinstated to the show, we refuse to watch the A&E Channel!
“I am just reading what was written over 2000 years ago. Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom. All I did was quote from the scriptures, but they just didn’t know it. Whether I said it, or they read it, what’s the difference? The sins are the same, humans haven’t changed.”
Photo credit: The Robertson Family Official Statement, Submitted by swalker on December 19, 2013 – 7:13pm
‘We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E’s decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Phil would never incite or encourage hate. We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right. We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family.
In a nation with its foundation built on Christianity and constitutional Freedom of Speech, did Phil’s comments warrant the reaction seen to date, or was this overblown entirely? Phil was expressing his religious views. No matter how distasteful, should he have this right in America? Let us know in the comments below.
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