The A&E Network announced on Friday that the show 'Duck Dynasty' which features four brothers from Louisiana will continue filming and the suspension of Phil Robertson has been lifted. The suspension of Phil was a temporary move by the network who came under fire from members of the gay community as well as members of the Black community following an interview given by Robertson to GQ Magazine.
In a statement released late Friday afternoon, A&E said:
“While Phil's comments made in the (GQ) interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the ‘coarse language’ he used and the misinterpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would ‘never incite or encourage hate.’"
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal released a statement Friday night saying:
"I am glad to hear that the folks at A&E came to their senses and recognized that tolerance of religious views is more important than political correctness. Today is a good day for the freedoms of speech and religious liberty."
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins released a statement following the announcement on Friday:
“The attacks on Phil Robertson revealed to the American people that the push to redefine marriage is less about the marriage altar than it is fundamentally altering America's moral, political and cultural landscape. A&E Network’s reversal in the face of backlash is quite telling to the American people who are growing tired of GLAAD and cultural elites who want to silence people and remove God and His word from every aspect of public life."
Even though the majority of people in the African-American community have never heard the name Phil Robertson, nor have they ever watched the program 'Duck Dynasty' on the A&E Network. They were equally as offended by the comments made by Robertson during the GQ interview and the content spread like wildfire. Equally as insulting to members of both offended communities was the fact that the rant by Robertson was not even in the context of the question he was asked. Many would argue that he was using his First Amendment right of freedom of speech.
On growing up in Louisiana before the Civil Rights Era:
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field … They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’ — not a word! … Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
The reinstatement of Robertson was due in large part to a social network frenzy on Facebook and Twitter. Ironically, those are the same social networks that got him suspended in the first place. But when the anti-gay advocates announced a 'Chic-Phil-A Day' in which all the religious followers of the ideology perpetrated by Phil Robertson would gather wearing their 'Duck Dynasty' paraphernalia, that was just the cover needed for A&E to placate to their followers.
Ask yourself, before this 'Duck Dynasty' story had you ever heard of Phil Robertson? After a few choice words directed at those deemed less desirable in a society still struggling with meshing religion and political correctness, Phil Robertson is now a folk hero.