This has been coming ever since Robertson said he wasn’t going to back down from what he said about the Bible, homosexuality and sin, and particularly since Cracker Barrel tried to cave to the PC crowd by pulling Duck Dynasty products off its store shelves only to run up against a devastating market backlash and immediately reverse course.
And now A&E has decided to immediately reinstate Robertson. He won’t miss a single episode of the show.
The network and the Robertson family announced Friday that Phil will still be part of the series — and since he didn’t miss any filming, his temporary suspension will have no effect on the upcoming fifth season.
An A&E statement to The Hollywood Reporter read:
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.
The lesson here? The PC crowd – whether in this case it might be the gay lobby, or the laughable Jesse Jackson, who weighed into the debate less than 24 hours before it was lost for his side – has been exposed. As in, money talks and bullshit walks.
There are a lot more people who don’t agree with their brand of repressive tolerance than they can actually influence. Victory for their agenda depends on that “silent majority,” in Nixon’s parlance, accepting that agenda without protest.
But when that agenda includes disparaging Christianity because some of its teachings involve homosexual acts as sin, the reaction is no longer silence.
GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, as representatives of the cultural Left, have crawled out on a limb and had it break under them. And society sees they’re not invulnerable.
What’s more, this is a victory for flyover country. You didn’t have to particularly agree with the things Phil Robertson said to recognize that (1) he has the right to say them, (2) that while he might have opinions you might differ with it doesn’t make him some sort of unsavory individual not worthy of public presentation in unrelated contexts and (3) we are not better off as a society if GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign can effectively strip someone of his livelihood for uttering something with which they disagree.
Flyover country understands these things. New York, Washington and Los Angeles do not. The market has just informed the media elite that they no longer get to impose their worldview upon an unwilling public.
And while this might have been a rather minor and silly controversy on the surface, it was meaningful. Politics is downstream from culture. And decades of full-on cultural retreat by Americans who believe in a traditional, conservative or Christian worldview have produced the likes of Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Keith Ellison and Bill deBlasio in major elected office.
Perhaps this marks the end of that long retreat. Perhaps now some of that lost ground can be regained. Not for homophobia or racism, of which Robertson was accused, but for traditional America.