GLAAD has responded to the A&E network’s decision to reinstate Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson.
A&E announced late today it was ending its nine-day suspension of Phil Robertson who was engulfed in a national controversy primarily about anti-gay remarks that he stated in a GQ magazine interview. In the same interview, he also made controversial remarks about the pre-civil-rights era.
GLAAD is an advocacy group that supports gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders that had strongly condemned Phil Robertson’s published comments and suggested a possible advertiser boycott of the popular reality show.
In a lengthy statement today, A&E explained (or tried to) its decision to end Robertson’s suspension: “… 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.”
Many observers believe, however, that the lofty rhetoric is merely camouflage (as it were) for making sure revenue from the top-rated Duck Dynasty reality show continues rolling it.
This evening, GLAAD issued a formal response to the Phil Robertson reinstatement. It reads as follows:
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.”
While the controversy started to make national headlines, Phil Robertson – who is a devout Christian – released a statement that attempted to clarify his published criticism of the gay lifestyle:
“I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”
Do you think that Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson will be willing to engage in dialogue with GLAAD representatives or others that found his remarks offensive?