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A&E has released a statement announcing that Phil Robertson will be back on the show Duck Dynasty when it resumes filming in the spring. “Free speech” advocates (snerk) everywhere can rejoice!
As a global media content company, A+E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s home and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principals.
That is why we reacted so quickly and strongly to a recent interview with Phil Robertson. While Phil’s comments made in the 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 mis-interpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would “never incite or encourage hate.” We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold.
But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America 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.
So after discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family.
We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found in Duck Dynasty. These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio.
I don’t believe personalities should be kicked off TV for the things they say. However, I support the corporation that owns Duck Dynasty doing whatever they feel is right to support their brand. And, I’m thinking the backlash after Phil’s suspension (not to mention the harassment executives had to endure. Yes, there were reports of threats) the suits there figured the face-saving suspension just wasn’t worth it.
It’s important to note, (just like in the Paula Deen case), there isn’t merely one incident of Phil directing hate filled speech at gays. A cursory search on You Tube turns up videos that contain language that’s even worse.
It would have been one thing if Phil had merely said “I believe homosexuality is a sin because my Bible says it is.” It’s another to use hate speech to condemn a group of people. Yes, I know he resorted to bible quotes in his statements. But as they say…if it walks like a duck…
So, can we stop feeling sorry for the Robertson family? Their “free speech” was never violated. Nobody kept them from expressing their opinions, and as it turns out there are no repercussions whatsoever, except a boatload of free publicity.
Read more at The Wrap.
GLAAD responds to Phil’s reinstatement:
“Phil Robertson should look African American and gay people in the eyes and hear about the hurtful impact of praising Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists. If dialogue with Phil is not part of next steps then A+E has chosen profits over African American and gay people – especially its employees and viewers.”
I wanted to add that Phil’s remarks regarding his experiences with black people while working alongside them on farms during the pre-civil rights era, while not hate filled as his rants on homosexuality are, are still appalling in their ignorance and they way they dismiss the African American struggle.
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