Unless you live in a cave, you are probably aware of the kerfuffle surrounding Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, and his comments in a recent article of GQ Magazine.
The A&E Network promptly suspended Mr Robertson, indefinitely.
Late yesterday evening, the Robertson Family released the following statement:
We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since hearing 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 on what is sin are biblical. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments “Love God and love your neighbor,” and any implication that Phil would incite or encourage hate is entirely false. We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his personal and constitutionally protected beliefs. We have enjoyed a good relationship with A&E up until this point but as a family cannot imagine the show going forward without the 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.
This is not a First Amendment issue, actually. Your Constitutionally guaranteed Rights can only be infringed upon by a Government entity. No private individual, or organization, has the ability to take your Rights away. This is a business decision by A&E Network.
However, I have seen, in several places, that people are justifying A&E’s decision as being “in the best interests of their viewers”. Unfortunately, without Duck Dynasty, A&E would only have 1/3 of the viewers they currently have.
Phil Robertson was within his rights to answer the question the way he did. A&E is within their rights to suspend him because of the fallout from the answer, and I am within my rights to boycott the A&E brand, and any companies that advertise on A&E, if that is my desire.
The reporter at GQ Magazine asked Mr Robertson (who makes no secret that he is an outspokenly devout Christian) for some examples of what sin is. Why are people acting shocked by the answer he gave? Apparently those who are “shocked” have never watched any part of a episode of Duck Dynasty.
The Robertson family does not need the A&E Network. Television did not “make them,” and television won’t “break them.” They can walk away and go back to living their lives.
It is the devoted fans of Duck Dynasty who will lose out. The Robertson saga has touched something deep within Americans in Fly-Over country that no other television show currently in production has been able to reach. We see these people as human, with the same senses of humor, dignity, faith and honor that most of us have. No longer will we be able to look at the crazy relative at the holiday table and console ourselves with, “at least he’s not as bad as Uncle Si.” Duck Dynasty connects with viewers on a different level than any other reality TV show I’ve ever seen. You actually care about the characters, and you relate to them.
The Robertson’s statement says that, without Phil, there will be no “Duck Dynasty.” If this happens, A&E will find some other program to fill the time slot. Maybe they can come up with a “Rodeo Shipping Storage Girls” show or something. The Robertson’s will go back to being Happy, Happy, Happy private citizens, with a bunch of new stories to tell the grandkids and great-grandkids.
Most reality TV is about watching the train wreck happen, every episode. Duck Dynasty is about Faith, Family and Facial Hair. There is no sex, no profanity, and religious and family values are exalted.
What a refreshing island of sanity in the sea of TV shows that glorify sex, drugs, violence, criminal activity, socioeconomic stereotypes and family breakdown.