Friday afternoon is when you announce news you don’t want covered, and Friday afternoon of Christmas week is when you announce news you wish no one will ever hear about. That’s why A&E announced late in the Friday afternoon that upon reflection, it’s okay with “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson’s rampant homophobia because they love the money the program generates more.
Sorry, because “it’s a show about family.”
To recap, in an interview with GQ, Robertson linked homosexuality to bestiality. He also said that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor because of their Shinto faith and that black people were “singing and happy” in the Jim Crow era.
A&E reacted swiftly to the interview, proclaiming that Robertson’s views “in no way reflect those of A+E Networks.” They suspended Robertson.
The network’s “disappointment” dissipated after nine days. During that time, A&E came under fire from the usual suspects on the right, including Sarah Palin. They turned Robertson, who looks like an extra from Deliverance, into the latest Christian martyr.
And now A&E has seen the light — or the ledger. In it’s statement reinstating Robertson, the network says the show isn’t really about Phil Robertson’s views. It’s about “a family that American has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A+E Networks also feel strongly about.” The family also comes together to condemn anyone who doesn’t fit their biblical viewpoint, but A&E neglected to mention that.
The network said it consulted with “numerous,” unnamed advocacy groups before deciding to bring Robertson back. The net result of the suspension: Robertson doesn’t miss a single episode of filming.
As a bone to the gay community, Japan, black people and anyone else offended by Robertson, A&E promises to “use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people.” You’ll be pleased to hear that A&E consider those “our core values.” You’ll be a lot less pleased to hear that it thinks that they are also “the values found in Duck Dynasty.”
Here’s a tip to A&E. Bad news like this travels fast, even on holiday weekends.