Social media erupted in a firestorm of backlash yesterday immediately following A&E's announcement that it had placed Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson on indefinite suspension. Robertson was suspended over comments he made during an interview with GQ Magazine.
In response to the suspension a new “Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back On Duck Dynasty” page was created on Facebook, and fans of the show flocked to it like ducks to water. By Thursday afternoon the page had already generated 570,000 "Likes."
Fans who went to the page saw a message that read: “This page is to show support for the freedom of speech of Americans. Unless Phil is reinstated to the show, we refuse to watch the A&E Channel!”
Apparently this didn't sit well with Facebook. The administrator of the page was banned for 12 hours because of the overwhelming positive response. Apparently gaining 4,500 followers in just one hour isn't acceptable.
The page administrator later posted a message reading: “The administrator of this page was banned for next 12 hours because this page generated 4.5K likes in ‘1 hour.’ People you are getting the word out! Continue to spread that we will boycott A&E until Phil Robertson is put back on Duck Dynasty."
At the time of this article the page is still going strong and has more than 663,000 "Likes." Fans of Duck Dynasty, the most popular television show in cable history, are still expressing their support for Robertson, and their anger with A&E.
"I will not watch A&E until they reinstate Phil Robertson and allow him his first amendment right to express his opinion," posted Rich Ottley.
Another Facebook user, Tom Marquis, asked all fans of the show to voice their outrage to sponsors of the show. "All of those that stand with Phil Call these #'s and let them know your (sic) planning to boycott their business at Christmas," Marquis posted, followed by a list of phone numbers to some of the show's sponsors, including Bass Pro Shops, Verizon, and others.
The page also accuses A&E of trying to capitalize on the controversy it created with its decision to suspend Robertson by airing a Duck Dynasty marathon Thursday night. A post about the marathon urges viewers not to watch, and to boycott all A&E programming.
Another post asks fans not to purchase Duck Dynasty merchandise from the A&E website, and urges them to make purchases though the Robertson family's own site, DuckCommader.com.
A&E suspended Robertson for what network executives deemed to be anti-gay comments, and said the network had always been "strong supporters" of the LGBT community. A&E objected to comments made by Robertson that he found the gay lifestyle to be illogical.
“It seems like, to me, a vagina, as a man, would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me,” Robertson stated in the GQ interview. “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.”
UPDATE: As of 9 p.m. Thursday the page had surpassed 1 million "Likes."
Edited Dec, 19, 2013 9:10 p.m.