Phil Robertson, the leader of A&E’s Duck Dynasty clan who was suspended from his hit reality series on Dec. 18 following some hateful comments about gay people, and African Americans won’t be put on hiatus at the end of the day.
An A&E statement to The Hollywood Reporter read:
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.
So after discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family.
We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company and the values found in Duck Dynasty. These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio.
As the holidays come to an end and the Wal-Mart shelves are wiped empty of Duck Dynasty gear, A&E decides to take back Phil Robertson’s suspension. Whether or not, Robertson’s comments where a publicity stunt to fuel Holiday sales, or an attempt to quiet the voice behind a multi-million dollar operation, Phil Robertson is back and most likely hear to stay.
Keep in mind how much Duck Dynasty is worth to A&E Network.
Duck Dynasty is a huge asset for A&E. In addition to being the top-rated reality program on cable, second across all of cable to only The Walking Dead with an average 13.4 million viewers and 7.6 million adults 18-49 in live-plus-7 ratings, Duck Dynasty has multiple brand tie-ins. Duck Dynasty gear is available in retailers across the U.S., including Walmart, Sears and Cracker Barrel restaurants.
Overall, it seems to demonstrate that money conquers all. As long as you have a multi-million dollar train behind you, racist or homophobic comments are okay.
Phil Robertson commented on homosexuals that he cannot understand why a man can find another man attractive. It is also hard to ignore the comments he made about African Americans. In his interview with GQ, he commented that African Americans have a sense of entitlement and that things were better before the Civil Rights Era. His comments were so infuriating that Reverend Jesse Jackson (Civil Rights Actvist who stood by Martin Luther King Jr during his assassination) asserted Phil Robertson is worse than Rosa Park’s racist bus driver.