‘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. Carol Renshaw says:

    Please cite which surveys show majority of us support same sex marriage. Thank you.

    • jenny says:

      I cited some 2013 surveys that show that the majority supports same sex marriage. I think there were 6 different surveys. Look further up the page of comments for my post.

  2. mike says:

    Even the king of civil rights would stand with Phil on homosexuality;
    In a CNN report, the author recently highlighted a 1958 letter published in Ebony magazine. In the letter, King responded to an anonymous boy who was confused about his homosexuality.
    “I am a boy,” the anonymous person wrote. “But I feel about boys the way I ought to feel about girls. I don’t want my parents to know about me. What can I do?”
    King, responded to the boy by calling his feelings toward the same gender a “problem,” but stating that he could find a “solution.”
    “The type of feeling that you have toward boys is probably not an innate tendency, but something that has been culturally acquired,” King responded in the 1958 column. “You are already on the right road toward a solution, since you honestly recognize the problem and have a desire to solve it.”
    Ironic

  3. CSM says:

    Your kidding yourself if you think the Robertson family will continue filming or supporting this series while A&E sidelines Phil. Blood is thicker than anything, particularly in the religious South. It is most likely that A&E brings him back quickly or the Robertson clan will move on – lock, stock, and conservative beliefs!

    • Jason Cooper says:

      The Christians have walked around America for so long with complete immunity that they can not comprehend themselves as even being possibly wrong. They openly condemn the gays relentlessly and with great fervent. They attack the person and refuse to even consider another option then what they have been told and or read. They believe they OWN God and even a hint of opposition will get them started on a tyrant of HATE while all along putting the blame on God and the Bible. I live in the deep South and most “Christians” despise both the modern black culture and the gays. What we are seeing is Christians being told NO and they are throwing a fit! How dare we not allow them to say what they want, when they want to say it, regardless of others ideals because nothing matters but maintaining their complete immunity at all cost. I’m also ashamed of much of the black community also being bigoted on this matter. Many blacks are being horrible to the gays and actually supporting the very people who have and continue to oppress them. This is an opportunity for the black community to elevate themselves and share some common ground with other people who can relate to being 2nd class citizens. KNOW your history America- White Christians Killed the natives and many did so in the name of God and Gods will. White Christian Men subjected women to unspeakable acts and held supremacy over women’s suffrage claiming that God did not want women to vote and the Man of the house hold was accountable to God and women were to be help mates only, without a legal voice. White Christians used God and the Bible to uphold Slavery and segregation claiming it was holy and God did not intend the races to mix. That God created blacks to serve whites because they were a cursed people. These Christians WHOLE heartedly believed in these principals and fought anyone that opposed them. Jump forward to 2013 and yet again it is the Christian community fighting desperately to maintain control of their beliefs and hurt many great people while doing so. History is repeating itself with different victims but the EXACT same Victimizer. Christians turn things around and try to portray they are the victims but we all know better, just watch you-tube for 10 minutes and listen to what these pastors are saying to children and adults about other human beings. I constantly ask myself , Why is it when Christians say God just hates the sin and not the sinner, why have there been so many flesh and blood humans devastated by the church? They have finally alienated enough women and men of all walks of life that they have started to loose their credibility and their complete immunity in America. The only option now is be the a sheep in wolves clothing and try to manipulate any situation that benefits them as appearing they are the ones being victimized while along continuing to spew hatred at anyone who does not currently line up with their ideals. They will say and do anything to maintain this power even by continuing hurt the ones who have such deep wounds they have caused all while doing so in the name of God.
      Just FYI I am a WHITE man 35 years old raised in the south and brought up in the Pentecostal Church of God! If I can step outside myself and my teachings and try to put myself in another’s shoes we all can.

      • mike says:

        Ps where are they lynching gays at in 2013?

      • mike says:

        Yet those same white Christians provided a land where your belief in homosexual is allowed without fear of a king queen or government not to throw you in prison for years without cause and the proof is that your freely writing this on a government monitored internet.look at Russia and China who have no gods. Europe full of white Christians is the most accepting place of homosexuals next to Israel another god believing country. Good luck with your racist hate and intolerance of black and white Christians

  4. CJ says:

    What a lousy biased article, the new American Tolerance, the one way street. You can be Anti-Bible but not against something completely unnatural which no one has yet to explain with any clarity. .Compare choice with the color of peoples skin and call it discrimination. Robertson has it right.

    • mike says:

      They can explain homosexuality it is when the fetus in the whom and it is exposed to a certain stress hormones turns the fetus homosexual just like you can blind a fetus if you expose it to chlamydia. They can turn rats gay by pumping it full stress hormone. But im with you these gays and their one way street needs to stop. Its not like we would know if there gay if they werent all up in our face about. And the gays are some of the most judgemental group of people out there.

      • mike says:

        Dont reck your bike lance, by the way he said poor people were before government hand outs but your ignorance probably didnt catch that. Please explain why its okay to have all black university, they self segregated after civil rights and thats okay.
        King’s own daughter has said about him in the past, and even King’s own words, which have described homosexuality as a “problem.”
        In a CNN report, the author recently highlighted a 1958 letter published in Ebony magazine. In the letter, King responded to an anonymous boy who was confused about his homosexuality.
        “I am a boy,” the anonymous person wrote. “But I feel about boys the way I ought to feel about girls. I don’t want my parents to know about me. What can I do?”
        King, responded to the boy by calling his feelings toward the same gender a “problem,” but stating that he could find a “solution.”
        “The type of feeling that you have toward boys is probably not an innate tendency, but something that has been culturally acquired,” King responded in the 1958 column. “You are already on the right road toward a solution, since you honestly recognize the problem and have a desire to solve it.”

      • Lance says:

        Yep, and black people wouldn’t have to be discriminated against if they didn’t get all uppity and just stayed on their own part of town.

  5. Mark Holt says:

    Our family and church supports the Robertsons 150%. What has happened has been taken completely out of context. Americans need to stop criticizing every celeb under a microscope. a&e has made a HUGE liberal f&ck up and will pay dearly for taking a Christ centered family and slandering them. And I fully agree with frank as well.

  6. Why is it ok that Miley objectifies and degrades herself, sexualizes Santa Claus at Christmas in front of thousands of children, debases the mentally ill and everyone in the entertainment industry praises her for being so bold but Phil says what he truly thinks and he gets punished? Miley can do whatever she wants and the cameras can’t get enough of her raunchy behavior but a guy on what is supposed to be a reality show is told he cannot express the reality of his beliefs. I completely detest Phil’s beliefs but he should have the freedom to say what he thinks.

    • mike says:

      Well if your a liberal idiot you can do no wrong ie miley. She promotes free sex (naked swinging frome some balls) smoking salvia taking extacy aka molly for our children yet a man says dont have sex with with lots of people, animals, and the same sex, in other words safe sex. He gets the boot. Any time a minority supresses the majority or the majority suppresses the minority that society is no longer for the people.

  7. pat says:

    Why did Oprah Winfrey not get as much backlash as Phil Robertson?..Because she own her own network..and is friends with God (I mean Obama). She stated that an ENTIRE race needs to die, and that’s ok..Wake up people…If one person can voice their opinion, than EVERYONE can. Oprah insulted an entire race of people..but no one suggested throwing her to the curb. I am tired of the double standards in this country. Grow a backbone people. This is not the land of rainbows and unicorns.

  8. Holly says:

    Why is it perfectly fine for shows like “Family Guy”, “SNL”, and many others to spew hate and disrespect about Christian belief but when a man is simply asked a question and he states what he believes be is condemned at a bigot and should be removed from television.

  9. Irene McDaniel says:

    A&E screwed up here. I downgraded my Dish account to not pay for A&E anymore. Duck Dynasty, shows of the Food Network, HGTV and the like were some of the few shows we had on in our home without having to worry about swearing, sexual innuendos, etc..Thank-you A&E. The downgrade is saving me almost $40 a month. We can buy the DVDs of the show. For all DD fans be aware when you purchase Duck Dynasty merchandise if it’s by A&E or Duck Commander. You want the latter. Let’s not let them make anymore money off of Duck Dynasty. Will watch for it on another station. I’m hoping the family declines to go on without him. A&E, He offered his opinion and added he loved everyone and treated all with respect. Hey, A&E and GLAD – YOUR intolerance is showing!

  10. Frank says:

    There’s a boycott going against viewing A&E, overnight, they lost 6.4 million viewers….What’s funny, is that the viewers that remained were watching DD. It’s simple, since man has existed, we have existed because a man laid with a woman. Had we all had the inclination for men to lay with men and women with women, we would have died out long ago. It not religious, its not opinion, its how life procreates itself…. IT’S FACT!!!

  11. Bill A. Belt says:

    Variety—not you best piece of work. The Duck Dynasty will survive—it just may be another network. The advertisers will not leave Duck Dynasty, however some of the viewers may and this is where A&E will end up losing. Those viewers will eventually not be be buying those products and big business cannot sit back and absorb these losses.So that means taking those ads to another network also. Ouch!! A & E—that will really hurt!!!!

  12. Frank says:

    Don’t worry, when the s*** hits the fan, and the electricity turns off, and you don’t have your computer or internet to entertain you / tell you how to live / think. MEN, like Phil Robertson, and those cut from his cloth, will still live, and you will die. So I guess that’s how Humanity purges itself. A cataclysm happens every couple of thousands of years to kill the weak. The strongest, heterosexual, alpha male will live to keep the race going…. The gay men I’ve seen in my life don’t fit this role. They might as well be women once the government is out of the picture. If the gay lifestyle wasn’t promoted by TV and the government would we even be aware? If we were tribal and legislation wasn’t FORCING us to be submissive to women and gays we wouldn’t be. THE TRIBAL PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD ARE NOT GAY; AND ARE NOT DOMINATED BY THEIR WOMEN.

  13. Ruth Coleman says:

    OMG! A man was asked what his beliefs were and he told them. Why are you making such a big deal out of this? Because he’s conservative, because he doesn’t progress your agenda, because he’s not afraid to say what he thinks, because he’s naive? Naive? You betcha! GQ knew going in what Phil’s answer would be, how could they not? There’s no one on the planet familiar with Duck who doesn’t know Phil’s beliefs – he’s said them on his show time and again, and have you read his book? It’s VERY preachy. Then GQ releases the story after the interview? Duh! Remember, Phil grew up dirt poor until he passed his business on to his sons who then took it to the stratosphere, so he doesn’t know how the big nasty world out there treats people who have stringent religious views. Phil’s learned a hard lesson this time, and I’m empathetic to what he must be going through. You know what, GLAAD? Not everyone is going to like you, agree with you, or condone your behavior, so shut up and be more tolerant of those who don’t. One family who doesn’t agree with you isn’t going to make one bit of difference. This was one man who answered a question in his regularly acerbic way, and told what his Bible says and how he lived by it. How many times have we heard “bible thumping hillbillies”? And how stupid can a network be to suspend the patriarch of one of the most, or close to it, successful reality show EVER! You can bet your bottom dollar that the Robertsons won’t stand for this, and they have the clout to do whatever they decide to, and you can bet your bottom dollar the sponsors will go with them. One other thing, Alec Baldwin seems to get a pass when he says homophobic comments over and over again, he goes on SNL and everyone laughs. He was in trouble way before his zero-rated show was taken away, and he blames the gays for all of it. I don’t care whether homosexuals get married – why should heterosexuals be the only ones who pay penalty taxes for being married – I’m very happy for couples especially who have been together for years and can’t marry to celebrate that love, I believe in pro choice, I believe in live and let live, but what I DON”T believe in is our media and how prejudice they are about everything and groups who are all about me, me, me, me! I’m sick of hearing about it. Homosexuals ARE out of the closet and living their life just like me, and I’m glad they’ve been able to break barriers, but enough already. You’re there, congratulations, I wish you the very best as I do everyone in our world today. So quit making such a fuss you big babies.

  14. Rocco says:

    Are you for real?!! ” 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.” ??!! And you say you’re a “TV Reporter”? Aren’t you supposed to be knowledgeable about these things? Then you should be aware that the rest of Phil’s family will not go on with the show without him. Oh well, A&E’s big loss. But there is a double standard that is so evident in our society today. A Godless Cher can call Sarah Palin a “Dumb C*nt” and all we hear are crickets. Not one word about it from anybody. And there are many other examples of this. But, if a Christian says anything…well, then he has to go. He just didn’t go off either. he was asked for his opinion and he gave it. But this really is not just about what Phil Robertson has said (and by the way, I don’t think he cares that much about the show, as he and his family were certainly quite successful before it) it is more about the war on Christianity, which is being waged, especially by the media, which is jam-packed with LBGT individuals. And while I respect them and their lifestyle (I have a gay Daughter), I feel that they want to take down not only traditional marriage, but also, all of Christianity. Phil did mention something that is endemic to all Christianity, and that is that as Christians, we are called upon to love all of God’s creations, which by the way includes all of our LBGT sisters and brethren. Of course, nobody will quote Phil on that.

  15. Jumpygathers says:

    If a decision to cost your network the highest rated, most profitable show you ever had, in order to placate the Sacred Cow of the left… the gays…well then sure Variety, they made a real great decision…NOT…but I wouldn’t expect anything different from you, as the thug
    tactics of the radical gay activists probably have you running scared too.

  16. Dennis says:

    Organizations like NAACP, Human Rights Campaign, and A&E are so intolerant of the Christian veiwpoint on sin. The Bible declares homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, cheating, and lying a sin. That is all Phil said. It may be old-fashioned, but God is old-fashioned. Our society may change what it considers is moral and amoral, but God does not. What God declares is sin is all that matters regardless of what we “think”. Its funny how the human race considered homosexuallity a deviant behavior up until the past 2 decades. 8000 year of being wrong. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

    • Frank says:

      Take sin and the bible out of it. What if there was no bible? How do MOST males of MOST genders act? They prefer to put their penis in the female, not the male. The Indians didn’t have a bible to tell them this. The deer, elk, dogs, cats, giraffes, et al………. intrinsically feel compelled to be with the females of their species; yet, when humans try to point out that the ENTIRE kingdom of organisms that are sexual procreate this way, we are wrong. SOOOOO…. we all need to start liking our own gender or we are wrong? This is analogous to my big toe telling you all how to live. Over 90% of all sexual organisms want to be with the other gender. Yet somehow, the unnatural way to live is being promoted.

      What happens when all the men get with men and the women with women. Where will the offspring come from? ARE YOU ALL BRAINWASHED MORONS?

      • mike says:

        Lance old testament is followed by jews new with old testament is followed by Christians pork and shellfish is old testament, Phil quoted the new testament.

      • Frank says:

        To Lance,
        Jesus, from my understanding of the man, wouldn’t care if you were gay, straight, hermaphrodite, asexual, etc…. He understood, that some are born straight, gay, and some have environmental conditions that might promote one or the other, in essence, wouldn’t be judgmental, that’s not the issue. The point is simple, do you want me to shut your opinions up? Or do you prefer free speech? And more to the point, do you concede the point that 2 males or 2 females can not create life? I think this is the essence of what Phil was saying…..

      • Lance says:

        The Bible actually says a lot of things are sins and no one seems to be pushing that hard for them to be banned. Where’s the religious outrage against the pork industry or the shellfish industry? The obvious answer for this lack of consistency is that a lot of people are using religion as a crutch to justify and camouflage their own prejudices which is I think we can all agree, not a very Christian thing to do. I also think you’ll find if you do some research that in that 8,000 years there are numerous examples of societies where homosexuality is not considered deviant behavior and is actually pretty common place. The Greeks and Roman’s being foremost amongst them. If you’re going to come out this hard against homosexuality at least come out and try to stop the adulterers, lazy/slothful and fat gluttonous people from getting married so you don’t sound like such hypocrites. God is love my friends and I don’t believe he hates any of his creatures. I also don’t recall Jesus every coming down one way or another on the issue. He still loved Judas even after he betrayed him, I think he can forgive little man love and some hot lesbian action and aren’t we as Christians meant to follow his example?

  17. Mame says:

    This is false media. It says he compared homosexuality to beastiality. I would just like to point out he said they were at different spectrums!! That would be like me saying “yes I believe sex beofore marriage is a sin. Then morph our to sex with a child is a sin”. It’s an opposite side of the specturm, and he covered some stuff inbetween! I was much more offended by his utter disregard for different cultures/religions

  18. Frank says:

    This is MOSTLY about the gay agenda. This was a trap. They knew all they had to do was ask Phil this very question. Let me ask all of you a question; if you learned of a species of animal all of a sudden pushing mating with its own gender, and hating you for pointing out the lunacy of it, what would you think? It’s not morality its science; even anatomy. The females of most species have a cavity to accept the male for procreation. Males do not. They have to do things that are unnatural to 90% of the world with another male in the act of sex with another male. SOOOOOO….

    Why are the naturally minded people wrong in this? Only a union of male and female in any species can create life. This isn’t religious, this is fact. Are you all brain-washed? The truth is simple. When most men see another man NOTHING sexual is thought; when most men see a woman SEX is a possibility.

    Somehow, if you think this way it makes one wrong? Well then how the heck did all these humans get on earth? It seems that most of our ancestors, like Phil Robertson, preferred putting his penis in the proper cavity built for it.

  19. 70% drop in ratings this week due to A&E’s decision, or 6+ million people. Public reaction to this decision has never been so swift.

  20. Jacques Strappe says:

    This has nothing to do with the US Constitution, freedom of religion or speech. Robertson is an employee of A&E under contract and paid millions of dollars. Many Christians love to play the victim when something like this happens. The Crusades have long been over and practicing Christians can pretty much say and do anything in public with impunity and worship freely. A&E is a private company which can hire, fire or suspend anyone who works for them who doesn’t perform or harms their bottom line. Members of the LGBT community continue to be the real victims here, facing physical and verbal abuse for loving another adult of the same sex “good” Christians find offensive. A&E hasn’t condemned Christianity or any other religion. Robertson’s comments, whether quoted directly from biblical scripture or interpreted, went too far and he is being appropriately reprimanded. He should have said something along the lines of “I am a born again Christian who believes that sexual relationships other than those between a man and a woman are sinful. Leave the bestiality and prostitute comparisons out of the comments. And the comments about blacks being happier prior to the civil rights movement and welfare is not borderline racism, it is full blown racism when spoken by a white person. Roberson needs a filter when he goes into public. What he says behind closed doors to family and friends is his business..

    • Marcelle Derioux says:

      Right you are.

    • Donnie says:

      Your are right about one thing , this had nothing to do about the 1st amendment. Thats a governmental right. What A&E did do was Discriminate , you say the LGBT community are the real victims here????? What are you serious? What happened to them? Phil was fired for his beliefs as a Christian , that is Discrimination at its finest and Phil in my opinion should file a suit. As far as A&E “playing its cards right” i dont find that to be the case. Gay is a 2% demographic and christian is a 65% demographic and how many gay’s do you think watch duck dynasty? … Thats smart business? A petition to boycott A&E has 1.5 million signatures , lasts nights marathon lost 6.4 million viewers. Less then half the viewers it usually has. This was not smart at all , you see you are wrong A&E is not a “private” company , its a public company. Money dominates in this world when A&Es ratings drop due to boycotts so will there PULICLY shared stocks. Then CEO and chairwomen will have to answer to share holders. I think it was career suicide for Nancy Dubuc and Abbe Raven.Plus the cast of duck dynasty have released a letter saying they cant imagine continuing the show without Phil , So there probably wont be a show anymore how do you think share holders will react when a couple of personal views threw billions down the tube. You do realize this is the most popular show on cable television.

      • jenny says:

        Christian is NOT a 65% demographic (poor grammar notwithstanding). It`s much less than 50%. Check your facts. A&E was right to do what they did, it wasn`t a `couple of personal views`, they did what they knew the majority of the population wanted.

  21. daryl hoblit says:

    Your out of your mind. You the media are swift to condemn who speaks his or her mind if you think it will sell. He spoke from what he was taught to be right. He didn’t single out one thing he stated from scripture and you the media turned it into an attack. The shame is on you. We teach our children that speaking up and speaking you mind may not always be right but it makes you strong and sets your place in life. We teach standup for what you think is right. The media needs to quit making it something its not and shame on the magazine for setting the trap

  22. Will Hammond says:

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

    Yeah, until the Robertson family takes its franchise to another network that truly understands the concept of tolerance. Try replacing that demo, A&E. You’ll likely never have another ratings bonanza like DD.

  23. zaxtervid says:

    I’m really enjoying witnessing the age of the Christian Bully coming to an end. You had a good run, guys! Hatin g ay people, hating black people and doing all those other things that Christians do. Now we are kicking your butts to the curb. I love this. The hate is over.

    • mike says:

      Like the other guy said no one hates you but you sure do hate alot your self very hypocritical, and isle point of view. I guess its okay to bully people as long as there not liberal. In your bedroom you can do what ever you want and when this man goes to church he can believe what he wants but American hoggers and storage wars is not going to hold the 10% audience rise it got from duck dynasty.

    • Frank says:

      How long have you been gay? From birth, or were you turned by another male? Did you have only a mother?

      • zaxtervid says:

        None of the above, Frank. Just got engaged to a wonderful woman. Merry Christmas to you and yours..

    • To be replaced by the militant, intolerant gay bully which is on full display these days.

      • mike says:

        And Nancy Pelosi is a pretty big bully and militant about homosexuals

      • mike says:

        chelsey lately regularly calls for hate against Christians

      • zaxtervid says:

        Oh yeah? Name a militant intolerant gay bully. I’m curious who you mean…I can name a slew of Christian evangelists who are bullies. Where should I begin? Pat Robertson? Shall we continue through the Westboro Baptist Church?

    • Joe Joe says:

      Nobody hates you, zax. God loves you. Jesus loves you. All those other things that Christians do? Such as doing good deeds, giving to charities, visiting people in prisons and hospitals, and just the daily kindnesses that people do? Remember, Christians don’t go about bragging about when they do good things, but every time one does something people don’t agree with, everyone points their finger at him. Nothing Mr. Robertson said was hateful – some magazine writers lie, zax. God bless you, zax if you feel that Christians hate you. Remember… some people claim to be Christian but really are not. And even if they are…. they are just human – just like you.

      • zaxtervid says:

        Nice one Joe Joe. Merry Christmas to you. And by the way I am not gay, but yeah, a lotta people like me just see so much hate coming from Christians. If someone told you that having sex with your wife is like having sex with a dog, you’d be pretty upset too. I’m just standing up for what’s right, which is equal rights for everyone.

  24. Joe Joe says:

    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.” Every crazy rant by Variety and other such web sites just prove Phil’s right. A&E needs Phil more than Phil needs them, clearly.

  25. c. Mettlach says:

    I do not see how this comment from Phil Robertson could have been taken so far out of context. I feel the same way, according to the way I was taught to believe back in the 50’s & 60’s. I believe that only Man & Woman were meant to be married or sexually active, but that’s my legal right and MY freedom of speech to express this, and no one personally should be offended. I can still be civil & respectful even though they are same sex oriented. That’s not intended to hurt anyones feelings, so all gay individuals shouldn’t be taking it in that context because it does not sound like Mr. Robertson was set on hurting anyones feelings. He just expressed his personal beliefs, which is suppose to be Our Constitutional Right of Freedom of Speech & Freedom of Religious belief. I see nothing that He said wrong or intentional hurtful, in any way. He was not being rude nor mean, just honest, which there should be more Honesty pass around in this Country because not much of that left these days.

    • Luke says:

      Yes, but A&E has their rights too. The First Amendment grants protects free speech and religious freedom. But Free Speech is not consequence-less speech. If someone mouths off to their boss, they are using their right to free speech, but they might get fired. That’s a consequence. It’s not saying that person can’t do that… They can, but there will be consequences. It’s part of living in the adult world.

  26. Anne M. Rubeo says:

    A&E fully understood where the Duck Dynasty religious convictions were at the time they signed them up. The comments made were to a magazine and not on the program although his religious convictions are who he is and he has every right. This magazine baited him with that question and then could not wait to post his reply in their magazine.Mr. Robertson, true to his conservation and religious principles answered truthfully and further commented that he would never be unkind to any person who did not believe as he did.

    The media has to get their act together – the CNN Balisher was vindictive, gross, vulgar and totally out of line with his comments on Sarah Palin ( most maligned individual by the media) and there was never the hue and cry about these comments and it took 3 weeks for him to resign.

    If A&E does not reinstate and apologize for their actions, I will not watch their channel again.

    • c. Mettlach says:

      I was fat, then I wasn’t. I had cancer, then I didn’t anymore. I had teeth but I don’t now. I was a drug addit years ago, but I’m not now. I still believe Man & Woman were meant to be couples or God would have given each one of us the same ogans for reproduction between ALL people, but GOD did not so that’s why two Women can’t reproduce nor two Men can reproduce. It must be what GOD had in mind when he made our bodies different, but that does not mean I can’t be friends or love my friends or family members that may be gay. That’s just my opinion and I see nothing wrong with what Phil said.

  27. A & E must be an atheist network. do not condemn someone’s Christian beliefs. this fiasco is going to come back & bite you in the ass. the old saying goes, what goes around, comes around. you pissed off a lot of people. I am not a fan of duck dynasty but I defend phil & his family for saying it like it is. being politically correct sucks.

  28. Gary says:

    I don’t agree with Phil Robertson statement in any way, but I absolutely agree with his right to say it. The ingorant A-Hole that wrote this article may want to realize this is NOT a christian debate it is a much larger debate about the insane degree of political correctness that exist in the country today, and the ablity to state one’s views.

  29. Bruce says:

    I guess AJ Marechal wishes he had waited to post his leftist opinion before the duck’s quack did echo and the whole Duck Dynasty family decided to stand by their patriarch and the principles they, and I, believe in. Apparently A&E got it way wrong and, like most of Hollywood, are out of touch with the majority of the American people who are not swayed by the LGBT lobby.

    The sad truth in this whole absurd scandal is that most real Christians are loving towards LGBT friends and relatives. They might not agree with them but at least the real Christians are tolerant. It is a shame that the inverse is not true from a group who pride themselves on being the crusaders for “tolerance.”

  30. Denna Freed says:

    Wow! The lie-o-meter us pegged at off the freaking charts as far as this article is concerned – ESPECIALLY with that “comparing homosexuality with beastiality” BS!

    Is there NO truth in journalism anymore? Is there NO integrity?

    Yet another rag to mark OFF my list!!!

  31. The condescension in this article is appalling… and telling. Guess what, Variety? There’s are millions of us out there who are not “strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community” nor buy into your theory that his remarks were “an opinion that is on the steep decline in the nation.” But we won’t be tolerated, will we?

  32. K. Pat says:

    If you understand the Biblical passage Mr. Robertson referenced and paraphrased, you’d comprehend the message of his comments.
    His statement refers to ANY abhorrent lasciviousness & sexual debauchery … either Heterosexual, Homosexual or “Any”sexual behavior that seeks ONLY “get my rocks off”, selfish physical gratification. This is SIN !!!

    Does THAT kind of “relationship” where folks are using and abusing just about anybody or anything to get their jollies demand the support and rise to defend posturing of GLAAD & Civil Rights groups??? I think not !!!

    Phil is a somewhat crude, course … certainly not eloquent… backwoods Louisiana, camo wearin’, gun totin’, full-fuzz-face, regular kinda guy. If you consider the source and comprehend the true meaning of the text, his personal, faith, belief, RELIGIOUS statement … well it just ain’t some ol’ “Jesus Rant” or “Homophobic Hate” as it’s been labeled.
    It is a focus on the ills of popular culture that are rooted in a deep, deep selfishness.

    Does THAT kind of sociopathic description of SIN sound anything like the
    committed, monogamous relationships the LGBT Community honors and want recognized ??? NO !!!

    So get the TRUTH and get off the bashin’ & trashin’ and heapin’ all kind o’ mean & nasty thangs on them there good hearted, good-people folk … them good ol’ boys like Mr. Phil Robertson.

    Thank ya kindly,
    ~ KPR

  33. Sheila Davis says:

    Phil Robertson holds to traditional, Christian values. Why is it okay for others to hold to non-traditional, immoral beliefs, but when one adheres to their faith based beliefs, it is seen as a threat. Those who are getting so angry need to ask themselves why a person’s INDIVIDUAL and PERSONAL beliefs cause them so much angst. When I hear a left-wing liberal touting their rhetoric, I simply tune them out, turn the channel or choose to not read the article. Why then, doesn’t the other side choose to do the same. Phil wasn’t trying to change anyone, he was simply stating his opinion, like he was asked to do. It is just too bad that people couldn’t just disagree and move on with their lives. I applaud his moxy and his courage. Let the chips fall where they may.

    • zaxtervid says:

      The chips have already fallen. And we decided that being gay is not immoral. However, we also decided that “hate speech” is immoral and we don’t want to hear it anymore. The age of the Christian Bully is coming to an end, my friend. Hope you enjoyed it! Buh-bye now, take care. Mwah.

      • mike says:

        To bad he didnt use hate speech, yet its ok for homosexuals to bully the other 95% of the population. At least you showed your ignorance. So i really didnt even need to post.

  34. Regina says:

    How ignorant can a whole network be Phil is Entitled to his opinion if the gays have a problem with him stop watching they seem to be sensitive to anything or anyone who doesn’t support their lifestyle duck dynasty needs Phil and his values me as an avid fan of the show stand behind them 100% hang in the Robertson family God is not through with you yet

  35. pace says:

    Judge not lest you be judged. also from the bible vengeance is mine saith the lord and love thy neighbor as thy self. My ego dose not presume to know the judgements the lord will hand to other’s or how quickley they come. The lord works in mysterious ways.

  36. Lula says:

    I would just like to say this is a true word and like it or not God always makes away for his word to be heard. He uses whom he will to do just that. Hear the word of the Lord and REPENT !! EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW AND EVERY MOUTH SHALL CONFESS THAT HE IS LORD!!

  37. Brenda Sheets says:

    Phil Robertson is nothing more than a bully who wants the world to believe in him, and let him lead them into the cult he belongs to. Why don ‘t he pick on fat people, being too fat is in the bible. Judging others is in the bible. You people use the bible for your own bad deeds–turning it into a bully itself. Why don’t you spend you time and money on things like saving little kids that are being molested and beaten. Why don’t you do out and build homes for the homeless and the poor.

    • Joe Joe says:

      Bullies do people harm, Brenda. Some children are fat because their parents are afraid to say “No”. Gluttony is a sin, yes. It’s not our place to judge others, correct. Phil made no judgments. In fact he said nearly exactly that and said he loves all humanity. His admonishments against drunkardness and immoral behavior, if heeded will actually save some little kids if listened to. Many instances of violence and sexual abuse happen with alcohol abuse and situations in which proper moral boundaries are ignored. The bible has harsh words for those who harm children. Helping the poor? Another biblical principle to be followed. Nothing Phil said was mean or even judgmental, considering it was his personal viewpoint. His only options were to say ‘no comment’ or to lie. We have enough liars and decievers in the world. We don’t need more, do we?

    • what the hell? says:

      Brenda, He didn’t address those topics because he wasn’t asked.

    • Denna Freed says:

      Brenda, the bully card, much like the racist card, has been overplayed and overused and doesn’t hold much weight with American’s who are getting sick and damned tired of the vocal minority beating the same old drum!

  38. Whocares you dont says:

    You just have to love the homosexuals. Some are narrow minded. They like to sputter labels like “redneck”, “unclean”, and “trashy”, and some of us consider them to be uneducated people who try to pretend they are educated. I think queers are nasty. There is my freedom of speech, and no, I do not tolerate sin either.

  39. Whocares you dont says:

    Mike

    ############################################################

    Dear A&E,
    Your network is on notice.

    What You have done by firing Mr. Phil Robertson has outraged the LARGE Conservative Christian Community to the point where your ratings may never recover.

    What Mr. Robertson did was exercise his first Amendment Right both in the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. His views are in line with the MILLIONS of Conservative Christians who like myself believe in hating the sin but loving the sinner. Let’s make it clear, homosexuality is a sin which is clearly condemned in the Bible, and is considered perverse not only by Christians, but Jews and many other religions including the progressive liberals’ favorite one “Islam”.

    Speaking of Islam, answer this please. If you had a series depicting the lives of a Muslim family, and one of them made comments toward the homosexual community the same as Mr. Robertson, would your reaction to those comments be the same? I would be willing to bet they would not.

    But I degrees.

    Your network needs the Robertson family more than they need you. They are a successful brand, and you are just a second rate TV network. We are encouraging the millions of Christians who you have now isolated to request the Robertson family walk away from your network, thus rendering a loss of millions of viewers who tune in to your network just for that show.

    Sincerely,
    Me

    • zaxtervid says:

      Easy come, easy go. If they needed him that bad, he’d still be on. But he isn’t, and they don’t. Buh bye, thanks for playing.

  40. Dewey McDaniel says:

    Phil has the right to express his opinion, if you may not like the answer don’t ask the question. States are replacing God with same sex marriage and if you don’t think he was right read the Bible. My TV has “BLOCK CHANNEL” and A&E can be the first one I BLOCK. A&E YOU GOOFED.

  41. If this is the opinion of A&E why can’t others have an opinion? Many of us have the same opinion of the activities of this world as do Phil. We just haven’t voiced them. We do not yell about the Miley trash you place before our youth or a lot of other junk on A&E. We always thought this channel was educational but from the leadership that you are providing I guess we can just look someplace else. Just like the comment that was made you have John Wayne toilet paper.

  42. Rabon says:

    Do you actually believe that Phil actually cares about not being on a stupid show? He and his family are not money loving spotlight whores like people you are used to writing about. Get a clue. This is a real American family, of which you are and shall remain totally ignorant.

  43. Lucas says:

    Bring back Phil or I will not tune in to your stupid tv station period so bring him back he will be on next season so just keep him on

  44. Zagg Adams says:

    Whoever wrote this article has NO clue about this show or this family. To say that A&E made a good move, because they know the rest of the family can carry the show without him just shows how ignorant they are. This family sticks together. Period. There will be no show without Phil. A&E will lose. Period.
    Just because you don’t agree with what he said, does not mean it was hateful or vile. The whole world does not revolve around gay people. They want to be accepted. Great. Then STOP demanding special treatment. Every time someone says boo, GLAAD rears it’s ugly head and bullies people into what they consider acceptable, with no tolerance for an opposing view and certainly no debate. Get real. Everybody in the world is not going to like you. Period. For many reasons. Get over yourself. Thousands of years of religious doctrine is not going to change for you. Ohhhh….that man said we were sinners. Big Deal. He also said alcoholics and adulterers were too. You don’t see AA getting their knickers in a twist.
    And in this case NO ONE abused your gay rights, NO ONE physically harmed you in any way. Just because you are gay does not mean you can control people’s thoughts or ideals. GLAAD is doing more harm to promote their cause then helping it. Just look at Facebook. They have around 200,000 people with a lot of negative comments about their intolerance. Phil Robertson has multiple pages with millions of supporters already. People are fed up with it. Period.

  45. S H says:

    Well, the ratings are in. What say ye now Variety?? Pretty strong statement condemning A&E I would say….

  46. Rick Bilderback says:

    A&E I’ll watch no more. After your WRONG decision with Duck Dynasty! Christians will all react the same way. Have a bad ever after!

  47. Photogfrog58 says:

    He never compared to homosexuality to bestiality, get an education and learn how to read.

  48. Brian says:

    you must be one of them,i’m sorry…..

  49. Brian says:

    don’t stop watching A&E ,everyone should watch and take notes of their advertisers and stop buying any of their products,if everyone will do this we can hurt them where it counts,their wallets,post something like this everywhere you can,pass it on,lets make A&E sorry for their actions,

  50. PAM says:

    GOOD FOR U A&E CUT THE WHOLE SHOW,IT SUCKED ANYWAYS TRASH IS TRASH

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