In a December 27 announcement, Hollywood-based A&E Network said it will not, after all, suspend Phil Robertson from its most popular program, the reality show Duck Dynasty.
In a magazine interview Robertson, an elder at his local White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ, had quoted the Bible on homosexual practice as sinful, and added some Natural Law reflections of his own on the mysterious allure of sin to fallen humanity.
When the comments were published last month, A&E, in virtual concert with the homosexual pressure group GLAAD, announced that he would be indefinitely suspended from future DD episodes.
That unleashed a hurricane of protest from Middle America – 1.8 million Facebook “likes” for “Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back on Duck Dynasty,” and 260,000 “I Stand With Phil” online signatures. The most the other side could marshal was 18,000 signatures supporting A&E.
Why A&E had to back down
A&E, co-owned by Disney-ABC and Hearst, had no choice. Despite relying upon seemingly endless reruns, quirky DD remains its most popular show by far, generating $80 million in ad sales last year (16 percent of its total), and many millions more in merchandise sales. It draws an average nine million viewers. The same week Robertson got fired, DD’s audience dropped 22 percent, ending any hope A&E would have had of breaking a half-billion in ad sales next year. So they put out a long-winded media release saying they were backing down.
It was clear throughout that A&E was making several mistakes, the greatest being a complete misapprehension of who watches Duck Dynasty and why. The Robertsons are popular because they are not politically correct, because they are a strong, unsanctimonious Christian clan who have kids and stay married, and because they are culturally traditional rural Americans from an interesting corner of the country. And on top of all that, they had done nothing wrong.
The gay lobby lost
As John Nolte put it in Breibart News, the media have been so terrified for so long of being shamed by GLAAD that they simply do whatever GLAAD says without argument. But that is because they all occupy the same phony politically correct world of the coastal states. Phil Robertson lives in the bayous of Louisiana. Neither he nor his millions of fans respect America’s new anti-Christian, anti-family, anti-hunting culture. This time GLAAD had “messed with the wrong man, the wrong family, the wrong show, and the wrong audience.”
Amidst all the furore, the gay groups have been remarkably unable to work up much apparent public sympathy.
When an in-depth book gets written on the Duck Dynasty Robertsons, it will tell how they sucked Hollywood into doing a TV show on a bunch of ridiculous caricature rednecks shooting guns in the bayous, who ended up showing America what in many ways it once was, and in many ways still could be.
- “GLAAD Slams A&E for Returning Phil Robertson to 'Duck Dynasty',” ABC News, Dec. 28, 2013.