Phil Robertson, the Duck Commander, star of the hit A&E show Duck Dynasty, has been put on "indefinite hiatus" from the reality show after making controversial remarks during a GQ interview. In a statement given by A&E's parent company A+E Networks to Variety magazine “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.”
The controversial statement that landed the Duck Commander in hot water with A&E was printed in the January 2014 issue of GQ magazine. In the interview, Robertson commented on his personal beliefs about homosexuality: ""Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong… Sin becomes fine. 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." Robertson then paraphrased 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 from the Bible: "Don't be deceived. 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." Robertson also added, "It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."
This statement should not come as a surprise to the Duck Commander's followers. For those who are familiar with the Duck Dynasty series, faith plays a big part in the Robertson household. According to the Duck Commander website under Phil's bio: "In the mid-’70s, Phil turned his life over to the Lord and made dramatic changes. Phil Robertson is not only known as The Duck Commander, but also he has built a reputation across the country for his faith and belief in the Almighty. Every year, he is invited to speak to hundreds of churches and organizations, telling them what the Lord has done for him and what the Lord can do for them."
What does the firing of the Duck Commander mean to A&E? Phil Robertson is the patriarch of the “Duck Dynasty” reality t.v.series clan. He may not be the sole star of the show, it is an ensemble cast, but he is definitely the undisputed and much-loved elder of the pack. In dollars and cents, Duck Dynasty is a ratings bonanza for A&E. The show has broken several ratings records on both A&E and cable television as a whole; the fourth season premiere drew 11.8 million viewers, the most-watched nonfiction cable telecast in history. Advertisers pay a lot of money to be in front of that many viewers. Advertisers and subscribers are what keep cable companies in business. It is the circle of life in the media world.
Will the Robertson family continue to do the series without Phil? Will the viewers still watch the show without Phil? Is this a power play by A&E? Is this an intentional swinging blow for Phil's beliefs before he exits the show? Who will win?
From my perspective, here in the South, we take our guns and our bibles pretty seriously. Although the mainstream media and liberal politicos guffaw at this ludicrous concept, the fact still remains and beats strong in the heart of dixie. When you package those values into a television show, add hunting, success at being unique and a patriarch who could play a mean game of college football....Bam! You have a southern cult following. And southerners don't take to kindly to people who "ain't from around here" picking on their own. The cable network A&E is already finding that out. Maybe this is a discussion that needs to occur in our society. A person's faith is nothing to take lightly, and those who have faith should never be afraid to stand on principle. The Duck Commander is just stating his beliefs, nothing more. A&E is stating theirs. In America, that is still allowed...isn't it?