Fans weren’t “happy, happy, happy” when Cracker Barrel removed items depicting Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty and his catchphrase “Happy, Happy, Happy” from their shelves, so they are now being returned to the Cracker Barrel franchise.
On Friday, Cracker Barrel made their decision to remove the Duck Dynasty merchandise depicting Phil Robertson because they didn’t want to offend potential customers, but the restaurant chain found that they offended much more of their customer base by removing the merchandise than by keeping it. They didn’t want to lose their loyal customers, so they decided that they would reverse their original decision.
In a statement to their customers, Cracker Barrel said that their customers “told us we made a mistake.” The statement added: “You flat out told us we were wrong,” and said: “We listened.”The statement also said: “And, we apologize for offending you.”
Cracker Barrel made their original decision to remove the Duck Dynasty merchandise featuring the likeness of Phil Robertson, 67, because of the family patriarch’s controversial remarks about homosexuals from the January GQ magazine.
Phil Robertson was roundly criticized by several media sources, and by celebrities such as Charlie Sheen. However, the millions of fans of Duck Dynasty quickly jumped to his defense, and argued that Phil Robertson’s right to freedom of speech and to express his religious viewpoints were being violated.
Instead of offending their loyal customers by keeping the Duck Dynasty items on their shelves, Cracker Barrel offended more of them by deciding to remove the merchandise.
Customers wrote them Tweets and other messages on Cracker barrel’s Facebook page which said things like Jody Kixon’s comment that when “you are done removing the selected products,” Cracker Barrel might as well “remove a bunch of tables and chairs……you won’t be needing them any more.”
Crcker Barrel’s original decision followed the decision of A&E to suspend — at least, temporarily — Phil Robertson from the TV series Duck Dynasty. Phil’s family are standing firmly behind the Bible-thumping patriarch of the family, and are basically saying if he won’t be a part of the show any longer, neither will they.
As a result of A&E’s suspension of Phil Robertson, Louisiana Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne has spoken with the Robertson family and said that if their dispute with A&E can’t be resolved, he will introduce them to new producers who will ensure that Duck Dynasty continues on another channel.
Just how strong was the reaction of Duck Dynasty fans to Cracker Barrel’s original decision?
Cracker Barrel experienced a substantial amount of social media negative feedback when they announced that they would remove Duck Dynasty merchandise from their shelves which featured the likeness of Phil Robertson.
There were over 30,000 negative remarks following the original post on Cracker Barrel’s Facebook page alone. Another part of the statement released by Cracker Barrel said that they respected “all individuals right to express their beliefs.”
Cracker Barrel likely didn’t expect the wave of negative feedback they received from their loyal customers, but they wanted to make it clear in the statement that their original decision had nothing to do with Phil Robertson’s right to his freedom of speech and religion.
The Duck Dynasty merchandise featuring the likeness of Phil Robertson will soon be returned to the shelves of all of the 625 Cracker Barrel restaurants/stores in 42 states, if it hasn’t been already, thanks to the vocal protestations of Duck Dynasty fans.
Written by: Douglas Cobb