Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

December 20, 2013

‘Duck Dynasty’ fans react to Robertson’s hiatus

LOS ANGELES — When the A&E network suspended “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson for disparaging gay people, it may have followed a time-honored TV tradition of quickly silencing a star who, for better or worse, speaks his mind. But in doing so it also ruffled the feathers of possibly millions of fans of its most popular show.

Fourteen hours after it was learned that Robertson had been placed on indefinite “hiatus” for telling GQ magazine, among other things, that gays are headed to hell, more than a half-million people liked an impromptu Facebook page demanding the show be boycotted until he returns.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who had her picture taken with Robertson just last month, complained that his free-speech rights were being trampled. Bobby Jindal, governor of the state of Louisiana, where the show is filmed, complained that Miley Cyrus got a pass for twerking on TV while Phil got shown the door.

T-shirts, of course, went on the market with the words “I Don’t Give a Duck About A or E, Bring Back Phil.”

“It’s a show that is promoting clean living and good moral values, and that’s something we need more of today,” one of the program’s many fans, Rick Peter of Vernon, British Columbia, Canada,  told The Associated Press.

It’s also a show that 67-year-old Robertson, who sports a beard that seemingly should qualify him for immediate membership in the rock group ZZ Top, is at the center of.

When or if he’ll return — or if he’ll ever really go away, however — is an open question.

“Duck Dynasty” is on hiatus until Jan. 15, and a network spokesman said Thursday that nine of next season’s 10 episodes have already been filmed. That means Robertson likely isn’t needed in front of the camera before next March, by which time this whole crisis may have blown over.

And blow over it will, eventually, says veteran Hollywood crisis publicist Howard Bragman, who added that Robertson will likely return to the show as well, perhaps after making a heartfelt apology.

“There’s too much money at stake,” said Bragman, vice president of reputation.com. “Although he plays kind of a hick on TV, I don’t think he’s dumb. I think he gets what’s at stake here. And I hope people on his team, the network and his producers get the message that what he did was wrong. “

Robertson and his extended family became wealthy manufacturing duck calls and were turned into TV and pop culture stars by “Duck Dynasty,” which has set cable ratings records for a non-fiction series.

“Duck Dynasty” is often the highest-rated cable show on television, and an episode last August that drew nearly 12 million viewers was the highest-rated of any show, cable or broadcast, that week.

Asked his definition of sinful behavior by GQ, Robertson replied, “Start with homosexual behavior and just go from there.”

Then he continued, “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.”

Although his suspension won quick praise from gay rights groups, it offended people like Peter, who says conservative views like his are often overlooked by Hollywood and the news media.

“I think we’re getting a little bit tired of that pro-gay sentiment that’s out there in the media and it’s time to fight back,” he said.

Randy Schmidt of Illinois agreed, saying that while gay people can be happy that some states have granted them the right to marry, “I find it unnecessary to flaunt it all over the media.”

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what conservative fans may think, said another veteran crisis publicist, Michael Levine. A&E had no choice but to suspend Robertson, he said. If the network didn’t, it would have had to deal with complaints from gay rights groups that would have made advertisers skittish and damaged the “Duck Dynasty” brand.

“The advertisers, the brand, people would stop buying ‘Duck Dynasty’ merchandise,” he said. “At a certain point the brand just becomes radioactive.”

This isn’t the first time, of course, that someone has been taken off a popular show for remarks or behavior away from the cameras.

Isiah Washington was fired from “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2007 for referring to one of his show’s gay actors with a pejorative.

More recently, Charlie Sheen’s erratic behavior got him tossed from “Two And a Half Men,” even though the show was a hit and he was the star.

But the interesting thing about this controversy, said Bragman, who himself is gay, is that it seems to be occurring during a time when American culture is undergoing a profound shift in its feelings toward gay rights.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Ukraine Plane_Rich copy.jpg US: Russia firing into Ukraine

    Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the crisis.
    Russia accused Washington of lying and charged Ukraine with firing across the border on a Russian village. It also toughened its economic measures against Ukraine by banning dairy imports.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP7107260254 copy.jpg Today in History for Saturday, July 26, 2014

    Today is Saturday, July 26, the 207th day of 2014. There are 158 days left in the year.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brother sues W.Va. senator over business loan

    U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III faces a $1.7 million civil suit filed by a brother over a lifeline to save a family carpet business. in the late 1980s.

    July 25, 2014

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    This week FiveThirtyEight released the results of a poll of Americans' opinions on the "Star Wars" universe. Not surprisingly, Jar Jar Binks is the most reviled character in the series. As Walt Hickey notes, the Gungan from Naboo posted lower favorability numbers than Emperor Palpatine, "the actual personification of evil in the galaxy."

    July 25, 2014

  • DDS Commissioner Announces Expansion of Commercial Driver Training Program

    Department of Driver Services (DDS) Commissioner Rob Mikell announced today an expansion of the commercial driver training program administered by the Agency’s Regulatory Compliance Division.

    July 25, 2014

  • Mideast Iraq_Rich copy.jpg Iraq elects new president amid attacks

    Iraqi lawmakers elected a veteran Kurdish politician on Thursday to replace long-serving Jalal Talabani as the country’s new president in the latest step toward forming a new government. But a series of attacks killed dozens of people and Islamic militants destroyed a Muslim shrine traditionally said to be the burial place of the Prophet Jonah, underscoring the overwhelming challenges facing the divided nation.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hong Kong Shutdown_Rich copy.jpg Hong Kong firms on edge as blockade looms

    As activists vow to shut down Hong Kong’s financial district in protest at China’s attempt to hobble democratic elections in the city, businessman Bernard Chan is preparing for the worst.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mideast Israel Palest_Rich copy.jpg UN school in Gaza caught in cross-fire; 15 killed

    A U.N. school in Gaza crowded with hundreds of Palestinians seeking refuge from fierce fighting came under fire Thursday, killing at least 15 civilians and leaving a sad tableau of blood-spattered pillows, blankets and children’s clothing scattered in the courtyard.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hahira getting new traffic signal

    Georgia Department of Transportation traffic signal technicians plan to install a new signal Wednesday at U.S. 41/state Route 7 and SR 122 in Hahira that will make turning easier and safer.

    July 25, 2014

  • AP00072403324 copy.jpg Today in History for Friday, July 25, 2014

    Today is Friday, July 25, the 206th day of 2014. There are 159 days left in the year.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results