So I finally finished school for the semester. It’s been a long, crazy ride, and I’m happy to get some much needed R&R. I finally get to watch TV! It would be just my luck that as soon as I get time to catch up on things, the Duck Dynasty scandal with Phil Robertson happens. In the days after the, I can honestly say I’d rather watch informercials rather than hear another word about Phil Robertson.
Let me back up. Here are the “controversial” comments he made about gay people in his interview with GQ magazine.
“It seems like, to me, a vagina– as a man– would be more desirable than a man’s anus, that’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine,” he later added. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
He also made comments about black people during the era of Jim Crow.
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person, not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
Ignorance. That’s what I see when I read the above comments. I see an ignorant person who 1-uses the bible only to reinforce his own bigotry, and 2-a person who was completely obvious to the atrocities the Jim Crow era of America, and while those are pretty upsetting revelations, it’s not illegal say.
I guess I’m somewhat cynical, because I know that even though or world is changing everyday, even though people are opening up their minds and hearts to the unknown, there are still a lot of people who have these ideals. That isn’t the problem. Well, it is, but it’s not a problem that could be solved in a day. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my studies in public relations, it’s that it’s extremely difficult to change people’s pre-set ideas, especially when it’s something that they were taught from a young age. No, the reason why it was such a huge deal was because A&E, the channel the Duck Dynasty is on, suspended Robertson following the his reevaluations.
Naturally, right-wing politicians freaked out like a pig in a slaughterhouse, and jumped to his defense as a result. They demanded his First Amendment rights, freedom of speech, blah, blah, blah. Ever notice how they seem to throw around terms when they have no idea what they mean? As soon as A&E announced their intentions, I recognized it for exactly what it was; image.
A&E didn’t suspend Robertson because of what he said. They suspended him because he is one of the faces of that network, and as such, he was expected to act a certain way. That’s like if I were the spokesperson of some politician, and I gave an interview about myself and said something like “I don’t like Latino people, and I don’t think we should let them into our country,” my employer, the politician, would get rid of me in a heartbeat, for the fear of my comments alienating the latino-american population.
While his comments are probably more widely agreed with than we realize, the top-dogs at A&E were probably more worried that the public thought Robertson’s comments reflected the views of A&E. In that case, you can guarantee that they would see a dramatic decrease in viewers who are gay and African American, not to mention all the people of other demographics who disagree or were offended by Robertson . In TV, it’s all about the ratings and viewers. A network losing that many viewers would be devastating.
In an about-face, the network decided to reinstate Robertson a couple of days ago. In PR, you NEVER go back on something like that, even if the backslash of your initial decision is pretty fierce, like it was in this case. Them bringing him on after everything makes A&E seem like they are unsure of themselves and the decisions that they make. They also did it way too soon. So soon that there were no real repercussions of his actions. Robertson didn’t lose any money, they didn’t stop airing Duck Dynasty at that time (in fact, they aired a marathon around Christmas), and he will still be appearing on the show next season
. If anything, I’d like to see more criticism for A&E, and the way they handled this “scandal.”