Friday, A&E announced that popular patriarch and foot-in-mouth homophobe Phil Robertson would indeed, be welcomed back into the Duck Dynasty fold. Barf. This announcement came hot on the tails of A&E's fervent disavowal of Robertson's offensive statements, which caused them to ban him from the show.
Their initial decision to censure Phil was absolutely the right call. But if it was all going to be for the sake of putting up a front, then why bother banning him at all in the first place? Stupid, stupid, and stupid thrice. Both A&E and the Robertson clan were quick to issue statements about Phil's return. Though well-penned, each had me rolling my eyes so far back that now I know what color my brain is: Puce, you guys. Who knew?!
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A&E seems to think that Robertson has learned his lesson. If he has, it's no thanks to their slap on the wrist. They talk a big game, but ultimately, like any T.V. network, they seem to just be in it for the benjamins. This controversy was probably more free publicity than they thought possible. A&E says:
Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man's views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family, a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A&E Networks also feel strongly about. So after discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family.
While they make a good point speaking about forgiveness, there's a difference between forgiving and glossing over. It seems to me like they are doing the latter. The Robertson family released a statement (predictably) to Fox News.
We are excited to keep making a quality TV show for our dedicated fans, who have showed us wonderful support. We will continue to represent our faith and values in the most positive way through 'Duck Dynasty' and our many projects that we are currently working on.
This is good news to all the show's fans who no doubt have really been worried about its future. Still, it doesn't sit well with me. As entertaining as I find the show to be (and I do), all of these faux-apologies feel like way too little way too late.
What do you think of A&E's decision?
Image via A&E