As we previously reported, Phil Robertson, of Duck Dynasty, recently came under fire for comparing being gay to bestiality and said that “wasn’t logical” to be gay. Due to his words, A&E, the network that carries Duck Dynasty, suspended him. If this were a simple world, that would be it. Duck Dynasty would be off the TV and everyone would move on to the next scandal. But it isn’t.
There have been opinions articles saying that the Bible is an ancient text and point out that Leviticus also states that you can’t have tattoos and it is wrong to eat shellfish. Others point out how free speech doesn’t protect hate speech.
On the opposition, there are statements about Phil Robertson being persecuted for his religious beliefs. People believe that he shouldn’t be punished because of free speech.
Everyone has a solid argument. Sadly, both sides are mistaken. This Duck Dynasty conundrum isn’t about morals, speech or religion. This is about money and publicity.
While A&E suspended him originally, Phil Robertson will appear in season five of the show and they won’t be cutting any of his footage. After a week of being suspended, A&E lifted the suspension and said that they would play PSAs “promoting tolerance” and that people watch the show because they love the Duck Dynasty family.
In originally suspending Phil Robertson, A&E pleased the gay rights activists. But, when they lifted the suspension, A&E pleased Robertson’s political allies. And by making a big deal about all of it, it is free publicity.
I understand this on a personal level. Before the comments, I didn’t know anything about Duck Dynasty but within the past few days, I have learned everything about this show. If it weren’t for Robertson’s words, that wouldn’t have been possible. It is good business.
Robertson is the perfect example of not judging a book by its cover. Even though he is perceived as uneducated by the general public, Robertson has a master’s degree in education. He is educated enough to understand that his words have consequences. This isn’t about him testing his free speech. He, most likely, knew exactly what he was doing.
I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with his statements and I’m sure that the comments that he made, he believes in. But, Robertson is smart enough to know that stating his opinions is controversial. After stating them, he was hidden shield of the first amendment to get the attention of the more conservative in the population.
Duck Dynasty’s demographics never included those who were outraged about his comments. Those who watched the show knew exactly how Robertson acted and most likely understood and maybe even agreed with his positions. His comments most likely didn’t offend his demographics. It did, however, give him a bigger audience.
When Sarah Palin and others make a television show a political calling, conservatives that didn’t watch the show are drawn toward it. And, since Robertson’s suspension was lifted, they’re pleased and feel rewarded. And the ones that disagree with him will continue to not watch the show.
Although Robertson was allowed back on the show, the group that agreed with him did not win. In this situation, it isn’t either side that wins. The real winner of this situation is A&E and the Duck Dynasty family. This is the perfect case of any publicity being good publicity. A&E and Duck Dynasty are not in a disagreement. They are holding hands, laughing all the way to the bank as people bicker about them.