‘Duck Dynasty’ opposition by A&E re-evaluated, fan support strongcomment (0)
January 2, 2014
Were Phil Robertson’s comments belief or bigotry? Does the First Amendment apply to publicly identified personalities or is politically correct speech the only accepted media currency?
Those are the issues that were debated after A&E Television Network indefinitely suspended Robertson, the family patriarch of the hugely popular “Duck Dynasty” TV program, for comments made in an interview with GQ Magazine.
In response to a reporter’s question about sinful behavior, Robertson said, “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.” He then used graphic language to refer to male and female body parts involved in homosexual behavior.
Robertson added that homosexuals are not the only offenders. He added, “Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right” (1 Cor. 6:9–10).
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation called Robertson’s comments “some of the vilest and most extreme statements uttered against LGBT people in a mainstream publication.”
A&E said it was “extremely disappointed” by Robertson’s comments because the network has “always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.”
The statement then announced that Robertson was indefinitely suspended from filming “Duck Dynasty” episodes as the series begins its fifth season Jan. 15.
Response from the Christian community was quick and loud. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said proposing that people who hold to what every branch of the Christian faith has held to for 2,000 years is somehow bigoted or hateful is not productive for speech.
“Let’s have the sort of cultural conversation that allows us to seek to persuade each other, not to seek to silence one another with intimidation,” Moore said. “That’s what real diversity is all about.”
Chris Stone, founder of Faith Driven Consumer, declared, “Simply put, Phil Robertson is being censored and punished for quoting the Bible and A&E’s treatment of him is punitive and highly discriminatory.”
And after thousands of Robertson’s supporters chimed in, a man reprimnaded for expressing biblical views in a magazine was reinstated in his role. A&E announced it will resume filming the show with the entire family.
“(Phil) and his family have publicly stated they regret the ‘coarse language’ he used (in the interview) and the mis-interpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article,” A&E said in a statement Dec. 27.
In a statement to Fox News on Dec. 28, the Robertson family said it was “excited to keep making a quality TV show for our dedicated fans, who have showed us wonderful support. We will continue to represent our faith and values in the most positive way through ‘Duck Dynasty’ and our many projects that we are currently working on. The outpouring of support and prayer has encouraged and emboldened us greatly.”
(Compiled from wire services)