Phil Robertson, the patriarch of A&E’s Duck Dynasty who was placed on an indefinite hiatus from his hit reality series 12/18 after following his derogatory comments about homosexuality in a recent GQ Magazine interview, is back. The network and the Robertson family announced 12/27 that Phil will still be part of the series. Since he didn’t miss any filming, his suspension will not affect the upcoming fifth season.
Faith Driven Consumer, the organization behind the widely publicized IStandWithPhil.com petition drive, with more than 260,000 supporters signing on in one week, has issued a statement regarding the A&E Network’s decision to reinstate Phil Robertson to Duck Dynasty.
Said Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer: “Today’s decision by A&E to reinstate Phil Robertson to Duck Dynasty is in direct response to the powerful and engaged voices of millions of Faith Driven Consumers, as highlighted by more than 260,000 signers of the IStandWithPhil.com petition.”
He adds, “However, the question remains, has the Faith Driven Consumer community truly been heard? Despite our celebration, we remain uncertain of A&E’s true intent. Today, in the network’s statement of their core values – centered on ‘creativity, inclusion, and mutual respect’ – Faith Driven Consumers are left wondering whether A&E considers us to be a part of America’s rich rainbow of diversity. Do they also now embrace the biblically based values and worldview held by the Robertson family and millions of Faith Driven Consumers? Did the network’s engagement and consultation with ‘numerous advocacy groups’ include Faith Driven Consumers? We eagerly anticipate A&E’s naming of those groups to ensure that our community was included. Faith Driven Consumers will remain vigilant as we measure whether A&E’s actions reflect true tolerance, diversity, and mutual respect – including their equal embrace of our biblically based values and deeply held beliefs.”
GLAAD issued its own reaction to Robertson’s reinstatement: “Phil Robertson should look African American and gay people in the eyes and hear about the hurtful impact of praising Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists. If dialogue with Phil is not part of next steps then A+E has chosen profits over African American and gay people – especially its employees and viewers.”
RBR-TVBR observation: It was simply a matter of which group of supporters issued the stronger reaction to what Robertson—and A&E—did here. The support was overwhelmingly behind him. Since Cracker Barrel was the only advertiser to partially pull from the show, A&E also realized the support for Duck Dynasty is also still there with advertisers. A&E’s tolerance PSA campaign across all of its networks is a smart move against any further backlash from groups offended by Robertson’s comments.