Restaurant chain Cracker Barrel announced in a Sunday morning message on its Facebook page that it will be putting its Duck Dynasty merchandise back on its store shelves. The chain had originally removed the items due to fears of offending customers; however, after many customers wrote and called to complain about the move, they quickly reconsidered their decision.
In their statement, the Southern-themed restaurant chain states that they respect the right of all individuals to express their beliefs and “did not mean to have anyone think different.” In addition, the statement apologizes for offending Cracker Barrel’s “loyal customers,” saying the chain was “wrong” and that they have listened to their customers and will be placing the merchandise back in their stores.
Originally, the Lebanon, Tennessee-based corporation had decided to remove some of the potentially-offending Duck Dynasty merchandise on Saturday due to fears of offending customers after Phil Robertson, who stars in the reality show, made some comments for an upcoming GQ article which many felt were homophobic and racist. A&E, the network which airs the show, has already made the decision to suspend him from the show because of the comments.
In the controversial interview, Robertson told GQ‘s Drew Magary that he didn’t understand how gay men could not find “a vagina…more desirable than a man’s anus.” “She’s got more to offer,” he concluded, adding that sin is “just not logical.” He then proceeded to make comments in the interview which many have interpreted to mean that he was comparing homosexuality with bestiality, a claim which has angered many and prompted GLAAD to call his comments “the vilest and most extreme” comments made against the LGBT community, “littered with outdated stereotypes and blatant misinformation.
Yet other comments that he made in the interview seemed by many to gloss over the mistreatment experienced by African Americans during the past century. On his blog, Jemar Tisby, president of the Reformed African-American Network, expressed his frustration that Robertson’s perceptions of racism in the South were so different than those related to him by his grandmother, who had felt the bitter sting of racism first hand, growing up as a sharecropper in Louisiana.
According to the Huffington Post, Robertson was at one time a drug user, but became a Christian in the 1970s. He now claims to be a devout Christian and that his views are simply what they Bible teaches. Many of those who support Robertson also cite Biblical teachings as their reason for believing that the was right to say what he did. Although this morning’s statement from Cracker Barrel did not explicitly state whether Christian beliefs had anything do with their decision to put Duck Dynasty items back on their shelves, it does appear that this is the group which their move was meant to appease.
By Nancy Schimelpfening