‘Duck Dynasty’ Suspension: Why A&E Played Its Cards Right

'Duck Dynasty' Scramble Leaves A&E With

It’s been a tough 24 hours for the “Duck Dynasty” cast — or for Phil Robertson, at least.

In case you’ve missed the media blitz, the reality star was lambasted online and then promptly suspended from the A&E reality series in the wake of his comments regarding homosexuality made in an interview with GQ.

What was likely expected to be a positive day of press for the bearded cast member — the GQ story went live the same day that a “Duck Dynasty” cover story ran in the Hollywood Reporter — quickly went sour thanks to a barrage of news articles and angry tweets condemning Robertson and his remarks.

Robertson, for his part, issued a statement before being indefinitely suspended from his television show.

“I myself am a product of the ’60s,” Robertson said. “I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”

Hours later, however, A+E Networks (parent company of A&E) revealed that it had placed the star on indefinite filming hiatus, stating, “We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series ‘Duck Dynasty.’ His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.”

Robertson’s indefinite suspension from “Duck Dynasty” marks one of the swiftest reactions by a network in response to controversial remarks.

Food Network severed ties with Paula Deen in June following Deen’s admission that she’d used racial slurs in the past, but that ordeal took days to unfold, climaxing with a series of cancelled interviews and uncomfortable taped apologies. And when A&E dealt with the controversy in 2007 over a racial slur used by Duane “Dog” Chapman of “Dog the Bounty Hunter” by pulling the program from its airwaves,  it allowed the show to return a few months later after the hubbub had died down.

“Duck Dynasty” is A&E’s strongest property, breaking ratings record after ratings record in its fourth season on the cabler. Program recently bowed a Christmas spesh that drew over 9 million viewers, and plans to return for the rest of its fourth run in January.

Some may wonder — why promptly suspend Phil Robertson (and indefinitely, at that — one step away from firing) when A&E could, like other networks, simply distance itself and issue a stern statement? Especially when this is such a highly rated program?

The swift decision-making by the A&E brass represents a new sense of urgency from nets to quiet the condemnation firestorm that spreads across the oil-drenched fields of Twitter, Facebook and blogs. “Duck Dynasty” draws in some of the most lucrative auds on TV — adults 18-34 and 18-49 — demos that are increasingly liberal-minded when it comes to matters of sexuality. “Real World” creator Jon Murray even noted recently that portraying a gay relationship on television no longer elicits the kind of shock from young viewers that it did in the ’90s — these things are now commonplace with TV viewers at a time when surveys show a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage.

With Phil Robertson’s remarks comparing homosexuality to bestiality, A&E likely felt it had little choice but to act swiftly, given the company’s stated corporate values, or risk letting A+E nets become a pariah in Hollywood and potentially damage relationships with advertisers.

In other words: when it comes to entertainment, low tolerance is turning into no tolerance.

With that in mind, A&E played its cards right. Because the show has such a strong ensemble cast, A&E is likely comfortable in cutting Phil Robertson loose, knowing that the remaining members of the Robertson clan can support the comedic docuseries’ narrative in future episodes of the program. Unlike the situation with “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” Phil Robertson was not the sole face (or beard) of “Duck Dynasty” — the show can carry on without him (assuming the other family members do not balk at his suspension), and the firestorm of criticism can be tempered online.

Would A&E at this point suspend a reality star that carried an entire program? That we do not know. But networks are certainly growing bolder when it comes to severing ties with inflammatory talent. MSNBC canned Alec Baldwin last month from his newbie primetime talkshow following his use of gay slurs, thereby nixing a potentially profitable show — and notable talent — from its lineup. And Food Network ending its relationship with Deen meant losing one of its most recognizable network faces (though her presence lives on on the net’s website.)

Of course, a “backlash to the backlash” has already unfolded, as conservative groups decry A&E’s decision, claiming it attacks “freedom of speech and freedom of religion.” The move to indefinitely suspend Phil Robertson has sparked a broader discussion about what CNN has dubbed “belief versus bigotry” — what is a network to do when its talent expresses an opinion that is on the steep decline in the nation? One that is considered discriminatory in an increasingly open-minded American population?

Unlike with scripted programs, reality stars are in the biz of selling their personal brand, one that becomes inextricably linked to the network that airs the unscripted show — and perhaps even more so with A&E, since the program is the most buzzed-about series on its lineup. The “Duck Dynasty” cast has certainly taken advantage of its elevated brand, not only with the bevy of Robertson family merchandise available to consumers, but also with its political campaigning for conservative leadership in Louisiana (the Robertson family is widely credited in helping get Louisiana political newcomer Vance McAllister into congress in November).

What’s more, the Robertson family has ultimately never strayed from its conservative and religious lifestyle as it champions Christian orgs. Gurney Prods., the Los Angeles-based unscripted shingle behind the show, has walked a fine line of highlighting the faith element in the family’s rags-to-riches story — which has made the show a draw for some viewers who would not otherwise tune in — but not so much that it overshadows the folksy-comedic nature of the family’s relationships. A broader issue at play is the fact that networks are willing to market reality stars with “redneck” roots for ratings gain, yet distance themselves once fundamentalists values are publicly revealed.

A&E likely had more than an inkling of Phil Robertson’s line of thinking when it comes to sexuality, but was never forced to confront those thoughts in such a broad public forum as the GQ article. The net was able to offer viewers a section of Phil Robertson’s personal brand in half-hour chunks, but, this week, America began to fill in the missing pieces with his graphic remarks about heterosexual and homosexual sex. Whether the net dug its own grave when it came to promoting reality stars that maintain ultra-conservative values is up for debate — was this debacle inevitable, given the family A&E and Gurney Prods. chose to highlight?

Either way, the cabler has been able to establish its progressive corporate values, maintain its relationship with advertisers, and not collapse an entire reality show in the process. The bullet wasn’t entirely dodged, but it at least didn’t hit a main artery.

The fallout is well under way, though, as Phil Robertson-related hashtags trend across Twitter and stories crop up online and on-air left and right. Network brass will have to wait and see if “Duck Dynasty” ratings are affected when it returns to the net on Jan. 15. Some fans of the show who support Phil Robertson have vowed to not tune in, but those angry social- media promises often lose their edge as weeks pass, and the media are distracted by a new problem to base segments on. Right now, the reverberation continues: an old myth claims that a duck’s quack doesn’t echo, and never before has the myth been so debunked.

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  1. Arlene Levron says:

    My family will no longer watch A&E until Duck Dynasty returns. GO MR PHIL !!!!!

  2. albert verdesca says:

    I am a married senior with children and grandchildren. I teach them values. I teach them to respect other people. I teach them that hate is wrong and forgiveness is right. Even though I am not a christian, I teach them that many Christians who say they follow Jesus are racist, bigoted and have hate in their hearts. Certainly these are not the teachings of Jesus or of a tolerant person. I watched Duck Dynasty once. I hated it. I liked other shows on your network but because you have caved in to greed rather than the simple premise of right and wrong, you have lost me as a viewer but you probably don’t care since you have a cash cow now.

    You could have made an invaluable statement which would have been the right thing to do. Instead you chose to go with a statement that is reflective of what is wrong with this country.

    • zack says:

      So you teach your grandchildren to be racist, bigoted and have hate in their hearts to words Christians how are of many races. That your values right.

    • Katlynn says:

      “I teach them to respect other people. I teach them that hate is wrong”
      “I teach them that many Christians…..are racist, bigoted and have hate in their hearts.

      Really? So let me see if I follow – you just taught your grandchildren
      -to hate and disrespect Christians; the ones that you don’t agree with and ‘think’ couldn’t possibly be following Jesus…
      -but that’s ok because you are teaching values; and hating Christians is the most popular new ‘american value’ we have in our country at the moment.

      Oh, I get it now. smh

  3. soljerblue says:

    “…what is a network to do when its talent expresses an opinion that is on the steep decline in the nation?”

    You’ve made the same mistake A&E did. Just because we’ve stayed silent for a generation and allowed a vocal, activist minority to crucify our faith and belief, doesn’t mean you’ve changed our minds. You can force tolerance, but acceptance must be earned.

  4. NormalMajority says:

    You must be another bigot.

  5. Malcom says:

    “Why A&E Played Its Cards Right”

    This is great, I really hope you leave this nonsense posted online so you can look back and see how ridiculous you really are, and just how little you know.

    The Family will never do the show without Phil, the family was rich long before they ever agreed to do the show for A&E so they don’t need the TV money, also, it’s the Family itself that draws the largest ratings on cable, so they can guarantee a huge audience to the next cable Network, if they should decide to continue entertaining their fans.

    A&E missed an opportunity to stop the gotcha mentality of these fringe groups and simply make clear that Phil Robertson does not represent the Networks position, A&E has programming for everyone and is in business to provide their customers the programming they like, if a program has poor ratings they have a poor program, ten angry people shouldn’t decide any Networks programming for 10 million paying customers.

  6. Craig says:

    I cannot believe that a channel’s belief system, and an individual’s belief system has made so many sloppy cry babies on both sides of the token. Find something else to do with your time. The More You Know.- and that’s one to grow on.

  7. jenny says:

    It is not just the LGBT community. It’s the majority of the population. I’m not gay and I was horrified by what he said.

  8. nancy behnken says:

    Phil Robertson has a right to his beliefs, however, A&E does not need to be the medium for him to spread his beliefs. if it is his religious beliefs, then he needs to spread that in all his churches, not on a tv station that is not a church station. keep it in your church phil. that is where religion needs to be spread.

    • Normal says:

      You must be a bigot.

    • Malcom says:

      Actually A&E does need them, they brought in the highest ratings in cable, and A&E is in business to earn money.

      They knew of Phil Robertson’s wisdom long before they created this program, they recruited ‘him’ for their Network, he didn’t seek them out. The family stated a Rep from A&E sat in with him during that GQ interview, and that A&E’s known for weeks what was said, and still they allowed it to happen and allowed it to go to print anyway.

      A&E was happy to profit from Phil Robertson’s belief’s and following, that is right up until the gay-friendly media and GLAAD pressured them to make a politically correct decision, and not a practical business decision, they now regret it and they’re now avoiding the media until they can figure out just what to do, their knee-jerk reaction may now cost them hundreds of millions of dollars a year in lost revenue, money they’ve become accustom to over the past few years, and will some how have to replace.

  9. Cindy Battles says:

    I may not agree with Phil Robertson’s beliefs. I will gladly leave that to everyone else to work out between them and their God…However, I am sick and tired of the liberal groups taking away peoples freedom…That man had every right when ask a question during an interview to give an HONEST ANSWER….I am amazed that people are so blind that they can;t see the bigger picture. I would have thought the media would have been the first to support this cause, since this is how you make your living….DO we really want to take the first steps to becoming a nation where we are not allow to speak our opinions…FREEDOM…How many people have given their lives to this cause….I do not agree with your article and I was offended by it , but it is your opinion…RIGHT??? Where is the line drawn and who draws it? Today it’s here and before long it will change again….People say things all the time I do not agree with…But that is their right….And even though I may not agree with you,: I will do whatever I can to help the cause to see that you/they get to keep that right….So I will not be watching A&E again…..I lived many years without Duck Dynasty and it’s not a problem to live without that show again…But it is a BIG problem for me when our Freedom Of Speech is attacked….

  10. tan says:

    I hope he does not let these gays back him into a corner forcig him to apologize. Im a Christian as well and while do not agree with homosexuality i myself would and does still treat them with respect bcuz thats what God calls for. But why are Christians frequently forced to abandon our beliefs everytime its not popular. Last time i checked its what GOD says not a&e not the government or anyone else. Bottem line homosexuality is wrong if someone chooses to continue sinning knowing its a sin and calling themselves believing in God then that is their businesses but just because sometjings popular doesnt make it right period. Its funny lying is popular but nobody’s advocating for that. A sin is a sin is a sin is a sin.

    • What do you think would happen if Phil just said something to the effect of ” Well..It is not my belief but it is not for me to judge” and left it at that? Would you still think he would of been abandoning his beliefs. Certainly if he would have went this route he could have saved himdelf the backlash while still keeping his freedom of religion.

  11. WALLY GATOR says:

    “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God“ (1 Cor 6:9-10). He continued in the Book of Romans, writing, “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error” (Rom 1:26-27).

  12. Allan Chase says:

    Here is a exert from the bible for the Robertsons “The Lord givith and The Lord takith away”!

  13. pops07 says:

    Phil Robertson is not as much a hate-monger as those in the LGBT community.

  14. Jack Davini says:

    I am telling you right now, I will not watch A&E or eat at Cracker Barrell ever again. I am for free speach

  15. Steve says:

    So you think A&E played it’s cards right? Still thinking that? GLAAD, by its own admission, has itself experienced an unprecedented backlash. A&E has placed itself as possibly making the biggest media/Hollywood blunder of all time. This will go down with the President’s blunder of lying to America and then lying about the lie. When are these folks going to realize how just absolutely stupid they are.

  16. Vinney says:

    They have a clause in their contract that the network can not interfere with their faith, family, & duck season.

    Almost all the angry comments against Phill are by people who did not read the GQ article. They simply listen to the rabid left tell them what to think.

    Lots of people, me included will change our cable plan to remove A & E if the net work doesn’t publicly apologize.

    I am sick of the politically left celebrities anyway. All the these sell is same old garbage.

    The network knows it can’t successfully sue the family the network is in breach of it’s contract.
    Lets turn the TV & cable & all entertainment off & live a life without the left wing telling us what to think & believe & like or dislike.

  17. Glenn says:

    A@E has always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community ? LMAO Where do any of their tv shows support that statement ? Oh a “token” covers that. What I find hilarious is A@E doesn’t have the common sense to realize that once the contract is fullfilled Phil Robertson can put a permanent end to Duck Dynasty with ONE family meeting. Their cash cow not his. I hope and pray that he does. I can easily live without a and e and the products of their advertisers. AND DO.

  18. Hayden says:

    This is insane he has the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion people like this need to stop talking, and give the United States of America
    our freedoms back!!!!!

    • Smooth says:

      Freedom of Speech is about the government not letting you speak. The government hasn’t arrested this guy for what he said. A&E is not the government, it’s a company that can dismiss an employee should they so desired. You’re complaining and don’t know what freedom of speech means. A cup of tea?

      • gerald dalsin says:

        I think he is considered a contractor to A&E. If he is an employee, then A&E would be be in violation of US employment law, discriminating on the basis of religion.

  19. Ken Allen says:

    Variety missed the mark here. Merchants that continue to advertise with A&E Networks will not get my business if I have another option- and I am taking the time to write them and let them know this.
    I have NO BEEF with gays, lesbians or transgender folks, some of my closest friends are PEOPLE that in fact fall into that category – just like Phil is a person. Each of them is entitled to their belief system. The liberal left does not like it, nor apparently does GLAAD – but their opinions are no more valuable – or less valuable – than Phil’s. The “thought or belief police” that want to silence Phil can pound sand. As can those that wish to silence GLAAD, for that matter. For preaching “tolerance” the way they do, the Gay and Lesbian/Transgender community – or at least part of it – sure seems to be hypocritically INTOLERANT. I have a message for them – it is OK for people to have an opinion that differs from yours! This is not (yet) a fascist Nation where one group gets to dictate the only “acceptable” belief system.

  20. pops07 says:

    The LGBT community has once again showed it will not abide an honest man.

  21. Paul says:

    wow, great unbiased, factual reporting…NOT. Yes, let’s label any moral disagreement as bigotry and punish those who disagree, that’s the American way. A&E, Cracker-barrel and others who react like this clearly are not looking for tolerance and respect (which Phil clearly gave), they want agreement, acceptance, support, and even promotion of their moral beliefs. Since when is free speech allowing folks to only say what you want to hear. And why is it when looking closely at the specifics and mechanics of homosexuality does it come across as unnatural and even destructive? I think thee protesteth too much. God bless Phil for speaking his beliefs and not cowering to those that clearly want to push their agenda and penalize anyone that doesn’t agree with it.

  22. Gary says:

    You have no idea what you are talking about. You write about how you wish things are, but are completely ignorant of how things truly are. We support Phil. A&E will suffer greatly at stripping away Phil’s right of free speech. In addition, this way of thinking is not in decline.

  23. april says:

    Well ,Well A@E what is the matter with you? I can see the gravy train going to another network and I do hope you reap in the oh what did we do. Besides having a great following with Duck Dynasty they are the most loved reality show. Where else can you watch a family sitting down together and saying a prayer by the almighty Phil. The kids have fun it shows us how to have family fun, making your own water park, enjoying football games, Yes it makes me think of how to get my family to do fun stuff together and you know it works, So big guy on top,, I hope your pay cheque shrinks, for I will not watch any of your garbage that’s left on your A@E network. Bring back Phil Robertson, I hope there is a big announcement on a new network for Duck Dynasty.. And that is my freedom of speech.

  24. Randy says:

    I hope phil and family stick to their guns(and no I’m not talking about real guns you idiot it’s a saying)they said no show without phil and I’m good with that don’t sacrifice your morals for moneyI don’t care about a & E & I don’t care about Cracker Barrel somebody else will pick up the show and that’s fine by me I will watch it then i do not care whatgays want to do but I am sick and tired of it being a one sided story they have freedom of speech but Christians need to shut up I am so sick and tired of this agenda from the left a person’s opinion is just that it’s in the canyon but the left is so bent on getting rid of God because they’re afraid of what God is going to do to them when they dieif they truly were strong independent people it would not bother them or matter to them about Phil Robertson but they hate Christians pagan worshippers I think they areto the writer of this article the show will not go on without phil they will find a new home

    • Candy says:

      People who choose to be gay have every right to be gay. And they have every right to disagree with what the Bible says about homosexuality being a sin. Likewise, the Duck Dynasty star also has a right to believe in the Bible and speak his mind. Nobody should be punished for their belief rooted in a strong biblical faith, nor be subjected to punishment for free speech. And it is the height of irony that the same people who now call the Duck Dynasty star a vile “redneck” are demanding they be treated with respect and dignity. Just so insane.

  25. Joelyn says:

    Phil Robertson was stating HIS BELIEFS. There is NOTHING wrong with that. A&E is showing it’s Christian-hating colors by this stupid move. Let it be known — whether folks agree OR disagree with what Phil said, the fact that A&E took such a stand about someone’s BELIEF is a DISCUSTING, BIGOTED, INTOLERANT and HATEFUL move. You liberals are SO DAMN TOLERANT until someone DARES TO BELIEVE DIFFERENT THAN YOU. Screw YOU, A&E, Cracker Barrel, and ANY OTHER entity that condemns Christianity or free speech. You damn intolerant HYPOCRITS.

    • j. g. says:

      AAAAAmenn Joelyn !!!!!

    • jenny says:

      What Phil said was also disgusting, bigoted, intolerant and hateful. Unbelievable that you can`t see that. He disparaged gays, blacks and divorced people-thinly veiled as religious `freedom of speech`.
      It isn`t a matter of free speech, it`s a matter of hate-mongering. pure and simple.
      A&E took a stand because they know that the majority of the population does not hold the same views as this man. I applaud their decision.

  26. Lee Blair says:

    What did CBS do last summer with the BIG BROTHER controversy? No one condones either situation but some of the contestants on Big Brother expressed serious bigotry on the show, something CBS chose not to edit out, while the senior Duck just gave an interview over which A@E had no control.
    A@E should take a close look at how CBS handled the Big Brother mess….

  27. Mike says:

    The author of this statement did not read the article, and is thus causing a hellacious back blast. What a moron. He did not compare it to beastiality, learn to read before you post, moron.

  28. PAUL D. KUNA says:

    I THINK ANY AMERICAN HAS A RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH. AND A MAN THAT SERVED HIS COUNTRY IN WAR. HELP PAY THE PRICE FOR ALL AMERICANS TO JUST THAT. OUR LEADERS IN WASHINGTON SHOULD HANG THERE HEAD IN SHAME. AN OLD VET PROVES HE STILL HAS PAIR. of balls for the ones that don’t understand what I jest wrote. RIGHT OR WRONG HE OR ANY AMERICAN SAY WH\AT HE OR SHE WANTS TO SAY. PHIL IN ONE OF MANY TO PROTECT THAT RIGHT THANK YOU SIR FOR THE OTHERS GET A ****** LIFE

  29. Daniel says:

    This is rediculous….you get asked a question about something everyone already knows how you will answer to and you’re expected to lie to keep from hurting feelings. If he’d have done that all these idiots would be talking about how he’s a liar.

  30. robert says:

    A&E F*#&%D up, plain and simple. If he is asked his opinions in a magazine that isn’t even directly related to his show, and gives them, it’s not your responsibility to punish him for that. It’s nobody’s responsibility, because everyone is entitled to their opinion. You say they’ve dodged a bullet, but believe me they took it square in the spine, because they’ll never get up from this one. If he thinks homosexuality is an affront to God, then that’s not your opportunity to try and take the moral high-ground. Of course his opinions don’t represent the majority or your company, that doesn’t mean it’s your right to make him suffer for it. A&E done f****d up, and they deserve every cent of profit loss they incur from this gay-pandering stupidity.

  31. Nancy says:

    I hope A & E falls flat on it’s face & all the so called Brass,with it. God Bless Phil Robertson & his family for standing up for their beliefs !!!

  32. Jenna says:

    I keep on hearing people say that freedom of speech only applies to things that have to do with the government. My response. If Phil Robertson is seen as an employee: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, RELIGION, sex, or national origin. SEC. 2000e-2. [Section 703]

    (a) Employer practices

    It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer –

    (1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, RELIGION, sex, or national origin.

    He answered a question about his RELIGION!

    But if he is not considered an employee, since he had a contract with them, then unless he broke one of the agreements in the contract, A&E still had no right to suspend him.

  33. Tionico says:

    The Dynasty without its Patriarch? Ain’t gonna happen. A&E has begged for, and will almost certainly get, the demise of its most profitable entity ever. And it will look SO good on them. Robertsons will continue to be Robertsons. AE has taken a hard turn. It will never be the same.

  34. Denise says:

    A&E doesn’t have a problem with Dog the bounty hunters racial slurs against,his sons girlfriend. Maybe because he supports same sex marriage,but they have intolerance for someone’s religious beliefs?

  35. Chaoteee says:

    lol you got all the wing nuts mad. Apparently your statement that most of america accepts gay marriage doesn’t jibe with their conservative dream land. This is how Obama winning a second term shocked them. They assume romney would win because all the whites would revolt.

  36. Lester Wright says:

    I believe you need to fact check your statement that, “The majority of Americans support gay marriage,” There are approximately 2 million conservatives in the United States. Tolerance from the conservative sector does not in any way relate directly to support. Even in California, one of the most liberal states, the people have passed a law, not once but twice, defining marriage as between a man and a woman. These were both overturned by liberal judges but it proves most Americans do not support gay marriage.

    • jenny says:

      2013 POLLS

      A September Quinnipiac University poll found that 56% of American adults and 57% of registered voters supported same-sex marriage. Only 36% of both groups were opposed.[13]

      A July 10–14 poll by Gallup found support for gay marriage at 54%, a record high, and double the support of 27% Gallup first measured when the question was asked in 1996.[14]

      A July poll by USA Today found that 55% of Americans supported gay marriage while 40% did not.[15]

      A May 9 Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 55% of Americans supported gay marriage while 40% did not.[16]

      A March 20–24 CBS News Poll found that 53% of Americans supported same-sex marriage, 39% opposed it, and 8% were undecided.[17] The same poll also found that 33% of Americans who thought same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry said they once held the opposite view and had changed their opinion.

      A March 7–10 Washington Post-ABC News[18] poll found that 58% of Americans support same-sex marriage while 36% opposed. The poll indicated that 52% of GOP-leaning independents under 50 years old supported gay marriage.[19]

      CLEARLY THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS SUPPORT SAME SEX MARRIAGE.

  37. Forpetessake says:

    I don’t see where he compared Homosexuality to Bestiality. I see where they are both listed as sins but not compared. Quit putting words in his mouth and twisting what he says.

  38. Tyrone says:

    The writer of this is clueless beyond approach. The Robertson family has already said they will not continue with the show without Phil at the helm, period. In other words, No Phil, No show. So will it be a smart move still for A&E to kill the goose laying their platinum eggs? Other networks are already showing interest just in show?

  39. ken says:

    After reading A&E’s statement and affirmation of homosexuality….. the real question is why would the Robertson family want to continue to be in business with A&E going forward? I think they can do better.

    The guy writing this article…??? He’s clueless.

  40. bikewise1 says:

    The issue is simple. When Phil et. al. signed the contract with the clause that states they can be fired should they embarrass their employer, they traded a measure of personal freedom of expression for a big fat check. Don’t conservatives complain that personal accountability has gone by the wayside? Here is one of their own not abiding by a legal document he signed, but they still support him.

    And I can’t help but think…..if people like Phil and his supporters spent the same amount of energy fighting against greed and avarice on Wall Street and in the halls of DC ( which affect us ALL) as they do railing against the supposed sin of homosexuality (2% of the population) this country might be a much nicer place to live!

    • mike says:

      So you know the contract now some homosexual in a&es ranks got his panties in a bunch to bad that homosexual killed the Golden goose or duck in this case glad a&e pleased 5% of the population over 60%

    • mike says:

      Or not it could be worse when one opinion is favour over another ie jews in Germany or Egypt. My homosexual friends on wall street are happy if not gay about taking home their pay check. But if a&e hates freedom of expression thats on them. American hoggers and storage wars for all the gays because thats a&e’s other top rated shows. Both show have a huge gay following i kid i kid gays watch e and kim kardashion

  41. Mike Kovacs says:

    What do you mean his comment is on steep decline of the feelings of the nation?? Maybe in Provincetown, Greenwich Village, or California, But I do believe that most of the nation – especially the south – Do not agree with that statement. And I have every right to make that assumption, at least as much as the writer of the article. And whatever happened to freedom of speech??

  42. paul says:

    “what is a network to do when its talent expresses an opinion that is on the steep decline in the nation?” Wow, Variety writers seek to make opinionated statements about the moral direction of this country. Judging by the comments on the internet and in the media, I’m doubting that Phil’s opinion is on a steep decline. Quite a judgement call by this author. My prayers go out to all media outlets, so that they report news honestly and within the scope of their expertise.

  43. Anton Breitschleif says:

    I couldn´t care less about what Phil Robertson or any other (in my opinion deluded) religious person believes in, they can tell me that I will go to hell because I was born a homosexual and I am fine with that.

    I might even giggle a little bit about how those people are so stubborn about preaching what people can and cannot do based on a couple thousand years old fairy tale. That´s all fine and dandy, while those people are stuck in their dream world I actually live a decent, progressive life full of love and happiness and am not wasting my energy on trying to make others feel miserable about themselves.

    But if Phil Robertson or whoever else claims (and I quote directly and not out of context from his hateful, disgusting speech from 2010 which can be found by searching “Phil Robertson speech” on youtube) that since I am a homosexual I am “bowing down to birds, animals and reptiles”, that I am “ruthless”, “full of murder and envy”, “arrogant”, “heartless” and “invent ways of doing evil”, I will take a stance and am SO happy that A&E did as well and tell them that they are lying, insane people and that I/we will not take these insults just like that.

    Because of these and other statements, A&E suspended him which is their right as the employee, they can fire him for whatever reason they want to. Last time I checked it wan´t a constitutional right to be on a reality TV show.

    Phil Robertson did not go to jail, wasn´t charged or trialed so NOBODY touched his right to freedom of speech in the slightest by simply banning him from the network. He can live his misguided life full of prejudice and loathing on however he wants to.
    But A&E just doesn´t want to be connected to it because they actually did choose integrity over economical interests for which millions of people are very grateful.

    In a world where there is already enough discrimination based on the most ridiculous, shallow reasons it is extremely important to show on a big, worldwide scale that it will not go without consequences to condemn and insult millions of people with nothing else but your own, hallucinated opinion to base “facts” on which you made up yourself and preach as the truth.

    • jenny says:

      Anton: I agree with everything you said. Great post.

    • “A&E suspended him which is their right as the employee”. So would a Christian employee have the right to suspend an employee for making anti-Christian statements? The answer would and should be no,because everyone would be saying that it violates the gay persons civil rights. So how is suspending or firing someone for voicing their Christian opinion in an interview not conducted by the network any different?

      I am sure that you will give a one sided answer without considering that he should have never been suspended for exercising a his rights and voicing his own opinion based off of personal beliefs. You have your personal beliefs and opinions and you have the right to voice them. So what, if I disagree or I’m offended by them, does that mean I can take actions against you? Their is in fact discrimination against Christians but that is probably okay you because you do not agree with them anyway, and you obviously believe they are not allowed to voice their opinions if you disagree. Your own statement above, ” preaching what people can and cannot do based on a couple thousand years old fairy tale. That´s all fine and dandy, while those people are stuck in their dream world” is probably offensive to Christians but you don’t understand that because you like so many others are okay with voicing your opinions but don’t want to acknowledge the rights of others to do the same thing simply because it’s contrary to your own opinion.

    • mike says:

      So you dont watch duck dynasty yet a&e kept you a fan which your not you must watch American Hoggers or Storage Wars. The point is why is your fairy dream better than the next man. 5% of the population should be favored over say 40% but probably more isnt right and the thing is you dont know if i am gay black little person advocating freedom of expression you claim you dont have yet you are happy in this Christian country

  44. Michael Moore says:

    yOU ARE RIGHT THE SHOW COULD CONTINUE SUCCESSFULLY IF pHIL HAD DECIDED TO LEAVE.However that was not the case. You told Phil to leave.Now it is not a matter of can the show survive without Phil. Now it is a matter of can A&E survive without viewers. Already more than 1.5 million people have said they will not watch A&E unless Phil is reinstated and Duck Dynasty goes on. This is all in less than 36 hours. You at A&E have made your choice. So to have the viewers. I would start looking for new jobs.

  45. Jason white says:

    In the last 24 hours there has been so many lies said and things miss interpret from the Robertsons. I can’t decide if liberals are doing this on purpose or are they really that dumm ?

  46. bubba says:

    If your so concernd about gays an lesbins why is a D and D marathon that will have phill in the programs still scheduald you bunch of hipocrits if those kind of people don’t like the show they can change the channel…………..

  47. Charlotte says:

    I suppose just conservatives have an issue with A&E suspending Phil for expressing his honest opinion. No gays, blacks, or people of diverse thought and religious views would ever condem A&E for this blatent violation of a man’s right to express himself. Oh wait…….. Thats not true, is it? It seems that accross the bord Amercians as a whole are outraged by this free speach violation. I guess there is hope for freedom after all. Lets not let corporations and nosy private organizations dictate what we can say. I am sorry…. I thought this was America.

  48. Marcelle Derioux says:

    Mr. Robertson’s comments, though protected by his right to freedom of speech, were unwise. A&E exercised its option under whatever clause in their contract allowed them to do so. I don’t think they wanted to be associated with righteous zealots, and who can blame them? Creepy, scary people…

    • Jason Cooper says:

      Ok folks ,,How can we not expect gays to be sensitive at times when at every turn our churches are actively working against them when trying to obtain equal rights under the law? We are being hypocrites by screaming this is America land of the free —–and we are getting so angry over 1 person Phil but no one at the same time is saying maybe when gays have equal rights then it is a fair fight. You can’t oppress a group and expect people to be on our side. People are sick of us not because of our faith and love of God and not even because we believe in traditional marriage. We have lost our credibility because we actively fought against other peoples LEGAL rights. If gays get married that has nothing to do with my marriage or my beliefs. Us Christians on here spewing hateful remarks is the exact reason we no longer hold the power we once did. We can live our lives and Love ,but we have to start practicing what we preach before we have no power at all. These comments from the Christian community are the exact reasons why people outside of our towns and communities have turned on us. It a huge world and we have convinced ourselves we are still in control and that’s called denial. The fact is, Phil is FIRED and A&E will not reconsider. That within itself proves our bark is worse then our bite and these are just the sad facts. If we still had power I promise Phil would had Never been suspended. The company ran the #s and realized even though it seems huge to us and we feel we are powerful and influential unfortunately we have fooled ourselves and we are the only ones to blame when calling people hateful names and constantly fighting against 1 group of people. God Bless

      • mike says:

        PS Obama is why we have no power here another liberal pushing his agenda on America

      • mike says:

        How many TV shows which we are over exposed to promote homosexuals and homosexuality. I guarantee American children are more exposed to homosexuality on a daily basis than possibly one hour of church a week, which most parents believe in god but dont go to church like my family the point is why should one set of beliefs supersede the other and that is why people are made because you can no longer freely state your opinion in a free country what if a&e fired him because he was pro gay would the same people stand up for a&e saying it was a business decision

  49. Steve Angell says:

    Check your facts. He did not compare them to anyone. He simply quoted a scripture in the bible. God equated them in the bible.

    This is a LIE by the GLBT community.

    • jenny says:

      He quoted a scripture in the bible that promotes hatred toward gays, and divorced people. He also disparaged black people. and BTW, God didn`t write the bible, mere men did.

    • I don’t have a fairy tale or dream world. I live in reality. If I did have one, no one said it would be better than anyone else’s, so I wouldn’t push my ideas on anyone, and I would expect that no one would try to push their ideas on me.

      Where did you get those inaccurate percentages. The majority of Americans not only support the LGBT community, they support same-sex marriage. Because this ignorant bigot was fired (and rightly so), thousands of people are complaining and making death threats to A&E executives. But guess what, those numbers are nothing compared to the Millions of people who are complaining about the remarks the duck said.

      A&E can’t bow to extortionists. They aren’t going to go against their corporate values and their advertisers, just because some rednecks are threatening them. If they hadn’t suspended Robertson, millions of people would be complaining loudly, advertisers would cancel, and the show would end, exactly what happened to the Food Network with Paula Deen when she admitted making a racist comment.

      The First Amendment says that the federal government can’t make any laws abridging freedom of speech. It doesn’t say that you can say anything you want and there will be no consequences. Robertson had the freedom to say what he wanted, and A&E had the right to fire him for it. Robertson isn’t an employee, so he isn’t covered by federal employment laws. He has a private contract with A&E, and his comments broke the contract. A&E is a business, and they can get rid of you if you do something that hurts their business, their brand, their customers, their advertisers, their revenue, etc.

      We’re not a Christian country. You should actually read what our founding fathers said when they built our country. We were founded on religious freedom and freedom from religion. Founding father John Adams said “The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,”

      And the number of Christians in the U.S is decreasing: in 1990, 86% of Americans were Christian, but by 2012, it was down to 73%. In the reverse, the atheist/agnostic/non-religious group was 8% in 1990 yet grew to 20% by 2012. For people under the age of 30, one third are atheist/agnostic/nonreligious.

      I think religious right is turning people off of Christianity by their attacks on people’s freedoms and civil rights, such as abortion, gay rights, freedom from religion, separation of church and state, evolution vs creation, contraception, school prayer, stem cell research, etc. The more conservative Christians get into politics to push their views on the entire country and to change laws to support their own agenda, more and more people are turning away from Christianity.

  50. patrick bell says:

    I do not think a multi~millionaire needs A&E`s to survive besides another broad casting operation would be glad to pick them up for a substantial boost in ratings…..A&E is dead in the water with out Duck Dynasty! So who needs who? Go Phil state what you believe in and stand firm on your beliefs besides the Truth will stand when the world is on fire!

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