The fans and followers of Duck Dynasty did not even have a chance when it came down to banning Phil Robertson from the show. A & E executives ignored what matters most in the television industry, that of pleasing their audience, and forged ahead, leaving millions in disbelief. The bigwigs of the network took a minimal amount of time concerning Robertson’s open comments based on his Biblical beliefs and Duck Dynasty was judged much too quickly.
The actions of A & E appear to be politically correct in the big picture, but their judgment was much too harsh for the so-called transgression of Robertson. The decision was made without considering the possible backlash from dedicated viewers of the hit reality show. Promoting a reality show and reaping the cash flow of mega dollars, should allow the stars to be real without scripted lines and actions dictated by producers. The actions of a few people behind a desk has sparked outcry and conversation from all points of view. The goal of protecting one group of people, gays and lesbians, has in turn brought discrimination to the other side of the coin.
Diversity has taken a nose-dive when it comes to goods and services, TV shows and freedom of speech. Everything has been affected in the quest to not offend and stay politically correct. People are not all the same. Aside from personal beliefs, race, religion and sexual orientation, styles of expression, careers, hobbies and choices create a variety of human interests. If everyone was exactly alike, we would be as clones or robots in a very boring world. To embrace diversity is a form of respect, allowing for each person’s freedom of speech and to agree to disagree at times. Accepting each other for our differences is a peaceful way to co-exist. Anger, bullying, intimidating and boycotting all lead to disruption and distraction from the blended beliefs and backgrounds of this nation.
Duck Dynasty joined the line up at A & E shortly after the network opted out of producing fine art and cultural programs in favor of the more profitable reality type shows. The series about the Robertson clan has been a blockbuster success for the last several years, and the producers should not have been surprised by Robertson’s comments. The down-to-earth, funny and amusing tales of the group has always featured a family dinner with a prayer of thanksgiving led by patriarch Phil. The producers had to have known that the family stood for Christian values, yet they tip-toed around the religious beliefs hoping for non-specific commentary. Despite the family’s beliefs, the show provided huge ratings for A & E within their guidelines.
The day came when Robertson was off camera in an interview and was asked how he felt about sin in the world. His candid way of speaking and being bold in his faith, cost him his job in a way. His brush with fame for the last few years does not really compare to his job as a husband, father and grand-father enjoying life in the swamps of Louisiana. Robertson will be fine. The whole family will be fine as they stand together and go on. They have money in the bank and their example of not being bossed around is a true quality of perseverance. A & E is the big loser in this toss-up.
Everyone has their opinion on this latest distraction in the entertainment world. This is not a federal case that should go on for weeks and months. It is a business decision between a company and a family. The trickle down effect of certain businesses pulling Duck Dynasty merchandise is a type of monkey-see-monkey-do copycat approach. If each American investigated where they received their goods, services and entertainment, sales would fall in all categories. If it is produced by a manufacturer that supports gays or if it does not support gays, the list would be endless and too time consuming to care about.
The Duck Dynasty fiasco has been blown way out of proportion, as A & E simply bit the hand that fed them. Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing when it works and is respected. It can be a most ugly event when special interest groups cry offense and throw temper tantrums. Life will somehow go on until the next scandal erupts and people have something to complain about. In the meantime, live and let live with respect while standing your own beliefs.
Editorial by: Roanne H. FitzGibbon