A&E Gets a Clue: Phil Robertson Back on Duck Dynasty

From the Hollywood Reporter:

Phil Robertson, the patriarch of A&E’s Duck Dynasty clan who was suspended from his hit reality series on Dec. 18 following some incendiary comments about gay people, won’t be put on hiatus after all.

The network and the Robertson family announced Friday that Phil will still be part of the series — and since he didn’t miss any filming, his temporary suspension will have no effect on the upcoming fifth season.

An A&E statement to The Hollywood Reporterread:

As a global media content company, A+E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s homes, and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principles.

That is why we reacted so quickly and strongly to a recent interview with Phil Robertson. While Phil’s comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the “coarse language” he used and the misinterpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would “never incite or encourage hate.” We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article and reiterate that they are not views we hold.

But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family … a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A+E Networks also feel strongly about.

Brian Lowry, a columnist for Variety, has his panties in a wad over A&E’s decision:

“So the network issued a mealy-mouthed statement Friday, promising to run a public-service campaign about tolerance and inclusiveness. One suspects the network will also be less eager to arrange interview opportunities for Robertson, which of course won’t prevent him from going out and speaking his mind, especially now that he’s a hero to many conservatives.

After all, if this episode proves anything, it’s that faced with the possibility of derailing its top-rated series, the channel has webbed feet of clay.

A commenter at the site (Variety) summed it up the best:

Hdogg48 says:

I grew up in the sticks of Western Pa., where they closed the schools on the
first day of deer hunting season. My late father a WWII and Korean War Vet
as well as my Viet Nam Vet brother were avid hunters.

Since then I have lived in many various places. For 4 years I lived in a neighborhood
that was made up of about a 75% African American population. Further for
2 years I lived in a 10 story building that was made up of at least 50% Gay tenants.

So I feel that because I have lived, worked and exposed to those varied
experiences I can comment fairly objectively about A & E reinstating Phil
Robertson to the “Duck Dynasty” program that I have watched a few times.
It is being shown in South America, where I have lived for a year and a half
as a retiree with my Latina wife that I met and married in the States, and who
also held American citizenship before I met and married her.

There is no doubt in my mind if ANY Gay or Black person got lost, broke
down, or we’re stuck in the backwoods of Louisiana, near the Robertsons
Compound that they would show up with gas cans, tire jacks, tools, and
John Deere tractors to pull them out of the muck. This help would
be unconditional and they wouldn’t expect anything in return.

On the other hand I am not so sure that they would receive such neighborly
treatment if they mistakenly wandered into a Gay Bar looking for help
or got caught wrong in the Hood.

Also, like Phil, I have been a recovering alcohol and substance abuser for 25 years,
and I can empathize the roll that turning his life over to the will of his higher power
plays in his life. I do not subscribe to his religious sect and Bible quoting approach,
but I think that many of the stories told from the Bible and the metaphors of
lessons learned to help you with your spiritual journey and help you live a fuller,
happier life can be effective…if you choose to use them.

I conclude by saying that I can see how groups like GLAAD and Rainbow/Push
can be offended and consider Phil Roberson’s comments to be a deal breaker.
However I believe that actions speak louder than words. And when it comes
to helping out your neighbors, even though they may be strangers, that the Robertson
Family is much more highly evolved than those groups bad mouthing them.

Those are excellent points.  Brain Lowry’s crying jag over Phil’s comments are comical, considering all of the filthy epithets flung at Tea Party patriots and Republicans, (especially if they’re black) by the talking heads at MSNBC. I don’t always agree with Phil, but I’ll take his character over what passes for popularity in Hollywood, any day.



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