Just days after his over-the-top comments started hitting the web, A&E has formally suspended Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson. The Duck Commander had us all cringing and outraged yesterday when he went waaaaay too far with his nuts and bolts frankness. In an interview, Robertson made no bones about his feelings where homosexuality is concerned.
Not content to simply refuse a comment or keep it brief and non-hateful, Robertson was quick to address his incredulity at the idea of a man being attracted to another man -- and in the most graphic of terms. But it wasn't just gay culture that should be offended, Robertson also described any religion that didn't follow Jesus as something akin to the Nazis. Methinks the Jews would disagree.
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A&E made it clear where they stood on the issue -- and fast. They drafted up and sent out a press release, leaving no doubt that they were peeved at their outrageous star's latest bungle. The statement said the following:
We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.
I think it was smart of the network to move as quickly as they did and show they don't broker in hatred. It's also complex, because the network chose this family knowing that they had an intense (and at times outlandishly stated) system of beliefs. Surely this comes with the territory, no?
The gay community is outraged by Robertson's remarks -- and fair enough. GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz made this cut and dried statement regarding the scandal:
Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe.
This is an important point. There are countless gay Christians who doubtlessly were TWICE as offended by Phil's comments. Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, issued the following statement:
Phil Robertson's remarks are not consistent with the values of our faith communities or the scientific findings of leading medical organizations. We know that being gay is not a choice someone makes, and that to suggest otherwise can be incredibly harmful. We also know that Americans of faith follow the Golden Rule -- treating others with the respect and dignity you'd wish to be treated with. As a role model on a show that attracts millions of viewers, Phil Robertson has a responsibility to set a positive example for young Americans -- not shame and ridicule them because of who they are.
Both Chad and Wilson are right. Gay fans of the show are likely to turn away from it permanently, regardless of A&E's quickness to act. I know I'll be giving it a wider berth in solidarity.
Do you think A&E's decision was the right one to make?
Image via A&E