Michigan’s largest municipally-owned utility, the Lansing Board of Water & Light (BWL), decided to cancel an upcoming Duck Dynasty look-alike contest, reports Fox News.
Why is the Duck Dynasty contest being canceled?
It might be offensive to some people.
A spokesman from the utility explained their reasoning in a statement: “The decision was made in light of controversial remarks by a Duck Dynasty cast member against the LGBT community. The BWL is committed to diversity and respect community differences, and we regret if the contest offended anyone.”
What is the deal with this contest anyway?
The BWL has been holding a chili cook-off annually for almost twenty years now. Any proceeds from the cook-off are donated to charity.
One of the popular events at the cook-off is the rubber duck race. To compete in the rubber duck race, an individual buys a duck and then dumps it into the Grand River. There usually ends up being about 500 ducks. The first rubber duck to make it across the finish line is the big winner and gets a prize.
The thing is that it usually takes about half an hour for the ducks to make it to the finish line. This year BWL had decided to fill that time with another event and that event was going to be the Duck Dynasty look-alike contest.
The Duck Dynasty contest was first announced on Monday, April 14. That afternoon, they received a complaint about the contest.
According to Lancing State Journal, the local citizen who had made the complaint was Danielle Casavant. Casavant said that the Duck Dynasty look-alike contest “showed poor judgment” on BWL’s part.
“The City of Lansing has come out very publicly promoting equality,” she said. “It seemed hypocritical to do something that glamorizes and promotes the show [Duck Dynasty] in any way.”
What Casavant is referring to, of course, are the comments Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson, made about homosexuality last December during an interview with GQ magazine.
What was it that Robertson said about homosexuality to GQ? The Duck Dynasty star said that he believes homosexuality is a sin. Robertson also quoted a Bible verse defending what is his personally-held opinion.
After BWL received the email complaint from Casavant, “it took about a minute to decide to drop the contest,” spokesman Steve Serkaian said in an interview. “We didn’t want any controversy from this matter to detract from what has been a longstanding, family-friendly event whose proceeds are donated to charitable causes.”
Just a few hours later, BWL issued an updated statement reassuring everyone that it “is committed to diversity and respects community differences, and we regret if the contest offended anyone.”
Serkaian said that the Duck Dynasty look-alike contest had actually been in the planning stages since before December and that no one in the company had been previously aware of Robertson’s comments.
“This company has a commitment to inclusiveness and diversity,” Serkaian said. “We have our own diversity department. We take quite seriously our commitment to that.”
Duck Dynasty‘s network, A&E, originally suspended Robertson from the show because of his comments and protests from human rights groups. Robertson’s suspension, however, triggered backlash from Duck Dynasty fans and A&E eventually backed off.
Duck Dynasty, the number two series on cable television, follows the Robertsons – the family behind a successful Louisiana-based duck-calling business.
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