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A&E, Phil Robertson, and Unpopular Opinions

Phil Robertson (Image via crossmap.christainpost.com)

Duck Dynasty. We’ve all heard of it. Sadly. It is A&E’s popular show about a wealthy family who owns a company called Duck Commander, which is famous for its duck calls.

I have seen only a few minutes of the show when I was forced by my boss to watch it as he laughed about something one of the Robertsons did which he found hilarious. I don’t remember what it was, but I remember I was not amused. In fact, I think a handful of my brain cells went AWOL while I watched.

The Robertsons are a conservative family, from what I can gather. They go to church, believe the Bible is the book by which everyone should live, and they strongly support the 2nd Amendment. They also appear to have something against razor blades, because they all have beards that put those of ZZ Top to shame.

Wednesday afternoon, Phil Robertson was suspended indefinitely from filming due to some anti-gay remarks he made that will be published in GQ magazine next month. He, as most religious people would agree, stated that homosexuality is a sin. He then went further.

“It seems to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus,” he explained. “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.”

First of all, I’d like to say I find the fact that anyone enjoys Duck Dynasty illogical. Just the few minutes of torture I endured while watching a clip on YouTube once was enough to convince me that these fellas, in my opinion, aren’t right in the head.

Secondly, on the off-chance that Phil Robertson ever sees this (ha!), I’d like to point out to Phil that being gay is not something a person chooses to be. It’s not like a gay man is confronted with a vagina and an anus and chooses an anus. Gay men are born gay just as straight men are born straight. Perhaps Phil can tell us all when he made a conscious decision to be straight.

Nobody chooses who they are attracted to. Nobody chooses who they love. If we could control our hearts that would make life much easier for all of us.

I’ve gone on record (I think) in support of gay marriage. If not, then I’m doing so now. There is no reason not to allow gays and lesbians to get married. It will not destroy the sanctity of marriage, if there’s any trace of sanctity left in marriage. I myself have been married twice so I’m pretty sure I have destroyed the sanctity of marriage, along with several million other people who have divorced, cheated on, and/or abused their spouses. Love is love and the God I was raised to believe in preached love over everything.

Now, having said all that I’ll now say this: A&E is wrong for suspending Phil Robertson. Phil has a right to his beliefs just as I have a right to mine. Phil has the freedom to express his beliefs just as I have the freedom to express mine. Nobody should ever lose their job simply for expressing an opinion. A&E could have released a statement denouncing Phil’s opinions and made it known that they do not endorse Phil’s beliefs without suspending him. Freedom of speech is supposed to be a luxury in this country, yet every day we see people punished or vilified for expressing unpopular opinions.

We are all different people with all sorts of different opinions. Should you or I be treated differently or punished if we disagree with the majority? Should you be fired from your job or outcast for having an unpopular opinion? Should you be demonized for having your own thoughts on a subject? The answer to all of those questions is no.

A&E needs to let Phil Robertson go back to work. They don’t have to agree with his opinions. I will continue not watching the show and I think he’s an even bigger idiot now than I did before, but that doesn’t mean he should be punished for believing differently than I do.

Link:

‘Duck Dynasty’ Dad Suspended Following Anti-Gay Remarks | Yahoo TV – Yahoo TV.

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Discussion

96 thoughts on “A&E, Phil Robertson, and Unpopular Opinions

  1. Well said, Stuph. I am of the opinion however that if A&E can’t grow a pair and put a disclaimer on every program like that that says, “The views of those on this program do not necessarily reflect those of the network.” and then shut the hell up, they don’t need my patronage. I agree that suspending him for his off set behavior was out of line–especially when you don’t hear that happening to Hollywood Celebrities who don’t know how to stay off of the freaking radar. Work needs to be kept separate from politics in entertainment, period. It’s BS.

    Like

    Posted by kadja1 | December 19, 2013, 10:11 am
  2. Hey there. I agree with your opinion that no one should lose their job for speaking their opinion. I would have to hear what he said myself to know if it was potentially offensive. I could see them not airing his comments if they were offensive, but losing his job…..? Seems a bit harsh to me as well. Like you said, it’s just his opinion (however tragic and ignorant). I mean, they let the whole family go on & on about their religious beliefs and evidently that’s okay. Clearly not everyone has the same religious beliefs. Then one of them touts off his sexual-orientation beliefs and he’s fired? There’s either more to the story or it’s an over-reaction for ratings approval. pfft. effing politics, man.

    Like

    Posted by bethteliho | December 19, 2013, 10:18 am
  3. I agree with you, TD. Watch as people decide that they have been duped all this time by a bunch of fuzzy ducks. Mecca will remove all their merchandise from their shelves. Plus, I do agree that there is nothing wrong or unholy about being gay. It’s all about the love, man. Great post.

    Like

    Posted by merbear74 | December 19, 2013, 10:19 am
  4. I’m with you. Sometimes the thought police mentality in this country disturbs me greatly.

    Like

    Posted by The Cutter | December 19, 2013, 10:36 am
  5. They are creepy and annoying. And all that GOD business – I immediately distrust anyone who has to use God every other word. I mean being religious is fine, but the whole point of it is not to brag about it – at least I thought that was the point. Humble they do not get. And their merchandise – ugh, I am so sick of it. I don’t watch the show, but I see them everywhere I look. I hate Cable TV with all this reality crap.

    Yes, he should keep his job but mostly because suspending him only adds fuel to the “we’re being discriminated against” nonsense that many conservative Christians use to try to get their religion made into legislation. Do not give them any more fuel.

    Like

    Posted by aliceatwonderland | December 19, 2013, 10:42 am
  6. I wish we would do away with 99% of reality TV – it’s always focused on mal-adjusted, close minded fuckheads … I’ve never seen the show either but that guy is an anus himself. I think he has the right to his opinions – some times there are consequences expressing them – I think he’s gotten that consequence. Part of me is thrilled that he paid a consequence for it; part of me is against the thought police – I find the man vile and I would choose to NEVER watch the program as my form of censorship. It’s a hard line to know where to stand.

    Like

    Posted by Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher | December 19, 2013, 10:46 am
    • Well, like I said, he has a right to his opinions and express them. I have the right not to watch his show and think he’s a moron. Trust me, there are plenty of people who agree with this dude and I’m sure anyone who doesn’t is not a fan of the show anyhow.

      Part of the reason I try to maintain my anonymity on this blog is because of shit like this. What if my employer or a potential employer see my views posted out there and don’t like them? What if they then decide to fire or not hire me because of my opinions? It should be that way, but it is.

      Like

      Posted by Twindaddy | December 19, 2013, 11:07 am
  7. I’m with you, SS. People should be allowed to marry whoever they want and say whatever they want.

    Like

    Posted by MissFourEyes | December 19, 2013, 10:53 am
  8. The thought police mentality always disturbs me greatly. “Offensive ” speech is exactly what the 1st Amendment was designed to protect. If you don’t like what you hear, change the channel.

    Like

    Posted by T. D. Davis | December 19, 2013, 11:09 am
  9. I don’t know the quote or the context.
    If it was done while he was representing A&E, then they are within their rights suspending him for that.

    I’ve never seen duck Dynasty, but I’ve heard commentary that as far as reality tv goes, their family is among the saner ones.

    Like

    Posted by El Guapo | December 19, 2013, 11:17 am
  10. Disgusting show. I watched one and only one episode. Kids were eating ice cream in the back of a brand new truck. Don’t spill your ice cream in the new truck, kids…What is the first thing they did? My friend was in stitches.

    That all said, he should not have been fired.

    Like

    Posted by 1jaded1 | December 19, 2013, 11:17 am
    • Just so everyone knows, I don’t watch it but various family members of mine do. I don’t think they are bad people. I think a lot of people are jealous of them and such over the money they make, but they were well off LONG before this show ever hit the air. I must say though reality TV is not my bag, but I did wonder what would happen if Billy the Exterminator and Dawg the Bounty Hunter ever teamed up on each others shows…I think Dawg would use that gas canister a lot on some of those bee hives. ;-)

      Like

      Posted by kadja1 | December 19, 2013, 11:24 am
    • Right, the show is definitely not my cup of tea, but he still has a right to his opinions.

      Like

      Posted by Twindaddy | December 19, 2013, 11:26 am
  11. I watched about 10 minutes of an episode, and all I could think was, “This is so clearly fake.” Nobody talks in sitcomish quips all the time. Nobody spouts t-shirt ready catchphrases constantly. Just in the tiny time I watched characters made awkward references to their beards, said pithy faux-rednecky things, and got into hijinks worthy of an early-90’s sitcom.

    That being said, I love that people are shocked (shocked!) that the redneck hick is, in fact, a redneck hick and that once he’s away from his handlers and people who can edit what he says, his views aren’t quite so pithy.

    Like

    Posted by The Byronic Man | December 19, 2013, 11:32 am
    • I think the only people shocked are those who don’t regularly watch the show. I’m not surprised in the slightest by his remarks. Frankly, I’m surprised they weren’t more obscene based on what little I know and have heard about him.

      Like

      Posted by Twindaddy | December 19, 2013, 11:35 am
  12. I agree with all of the above. The irony is that DD (which I have watched because my son seems to like it, which is my penance for everything) is a scripted show masquerading as a reality show that has canned one of its stars for saying something unscripted.

    Like

    Posted by rossmurray1 | December 19, 2013, 11:47 am
  13. I’m not sure Phil’s comments are being quoted in context. He is a religious man, and makes no secret of that, but he’s also all about loving your neighbor no matter what his views might be. I think he was talking about sinners (those who sin against others) and not homosexuals in particular – just a general overview of what he views as “sins,” and that covers a lot of ground.

    I’ll admit right here that I read his book (if you’re looking for a review, don’t bother to read it – you can glean his entire philosophy from the A&E soundbites) and he’s not the anti-gay monster he’s being portrayed as right now, just a born-again religious man who sees the world going to hell in a hand-basket and is willing to offer up his opinions to whoever wants to listen. He readily admits to having led a very wild life in his younger days (why Kay stayed with him is beyond me) and that he has a lot of ground to make up before he dies. Pretty typical small town stuff.

    I binge watched DD awhile back, only the first couple of seasons, and it was quite different than it is now – it didn’t seem so scripted (edited for comic effect, yes) and the guys were much more shy and natural. Now they’re all stars and the show has taken on a whole different feel. Not worth staying up until 10:00 PM for half an hour of the exact same thing every week.

    Why A&E couldn’t have just issued a statement and put the usual disclaimer at the beginning of each episode is beyond me. Not that Phil needs the income, but the principal of the thing is only going to make DD more popular. Maybe it’s all a political ploy? I hear Willie has been asked to run for office…

    Like

    Posted by Sofia Leo | December 19, 2013, 12:09 pm
    • I don’t know. We may never know if his quotes are taken out of context since it was a one-on-one interview and I’m sure GQ will edit the piece for the most impact.

      Either way, I still disagree with his statement and still think A&E completely overreacted to the situation.

      Like

      Posted by Twindaddy | December 19, 2013, 12:13 pm
  14. Hmmm. I’m not sure how I feel about your post. I used to really enjoy the show during its first season, and then it got too staged for my tastes. I liked it because it was one of the few “wholesome” reality TV shows around. Plus it was pretty funny at times, if you like that ridiculous sense of humor. It is about an American family that believe in God and love each other. So I don’t really think that anyone who enjoys the show is illogical.

    I am also not shocked at all by what he said and I feel like people shouldn’t be either. You are taking a 60? 70? year old hillbilly, born again Christian from the South and asking him questions that you KNOW he will answer with how he believes. I feel like GQ pointed those questions to him to purposefully stir up drama. They already knew the answer they were going to get.

    I feel that when you go off at him in your post, you are trying to make him feel bad about how he feels. It seems contradictory to immediately then say that he should have freedom of speech and not lose his job. If you really feel he should have freedom of speech, then let him have freedom of speech. Just be able to say “Hey, you believe what you believe, and I’ll believe what I believe.”

    Like

    Posted by starwarsanon | December 19, 2013, 12:19 pm
    • I DID say that. More than once.

      I have no intention of trying to make him feel bad, because he won’t. Even were he to read my words they would have no effect on him. He expressed his opinion. I then expressed mine, as is both our rights to do so.

      There’s nothing at all contradictory about this post. The point of it is this: I can disagree with his point of view and still defend his right to have it.

      Like

      Posted by Twindaddy | December 19, 2013, 12:25 pm
  15. I think the show is headed for trouble… or, as I now call it, getting ready to pull a Paula Deen… I saw this on the news this morning. My stand on the side of the gay community is well known, so I won’t even bother to say how much this annoys me, but he also said in that interview that African Americans were happier and better off before the civil rights movement. Seriously. What a fucking pea-brain. I have never watched the show. I have never seen even a clip of Honey Boo Boo… although I do admit I like that Swamp People show…

    Like

    Posted by pouringmyartout | December 19, 2013, 12:31 pm
  16. Based on the information we have, I agree with you. I think the comments he made aren’t entirely surprising coming from him given what little I know about his family, and however incorrect and narrow-minded they were in my eyes, he’s entitled to have that opinion. From what I’ve read, I don’t think he necessarily meant to cause harm with what he said, and I think that makes a difference.

    Like

    Posted by Katie | December 19, 2013, 1:38 pm
  17. This is why I avoid television altogether. It used to be okay to bash gays. Now we’re so in favor of it we’re firing people for anti-gay remarks. I’m fine with (fill in with term for whatever). I’m against hypocrisy.

    Like

    Posted by BrainRants | December 19, 2013, 2:25 pm
  18. I agree with you wholeheartedly, TD.

    Sadly, anybody who watches this show agrees with Duck Dude, though. Why anybody watches shit like this is beyond me. The level of stupidity on TV is astounding.

    Like

    Posted by Elyse | December 19, 2013, 3:21 pm
  19. I agree that everyone is entitled to an opinion. I know that in my work if I say something controversial in the media I could be in danger of losing my job. I don’t think that is a bad thing. When I am representing my workplace in the public eye (which essentially he is as he is only well known due to the show so he is always representing the show in the media – they didn’t interview him because he was ‘Phil’ they interviewed him because he is ‘Phil from Duck Dynasty’) I would not talk about controversial topics regardless of my personal opinion.

    That’s my freedom of speech on the matter.

    Like

    Posted by Daile | December 19, 2013, 6:53 pm
    • Right, but don’t you think its bullshit that you have to censor yourself just to avoid that circumstance? You political and religious views shouldn’t have any bearing on your employment, no matter his inane.

      Like

      Posted by Twindaddy | December 19, 2013, 7:01 pm
      • I guess I don’t think it’s bullshit to censor yourself. But that’s my personal opinion. My political or religious views should not have any bearing on my employment, but the way I choose to express those views while representing my employer should.

        Like

        Posted by Daile | December 19, 2013, 7:08 pm
        • True, but when you’re in the public eye, you’re always representing your employer. I was once told as a manager for a company I no longer work for that I am always representing the company, even when I’m not at work or at work related functions. I did not like that and to this day I still think it’s bullshit. If I decided to go to the pub, get drunk, and make an ass of myself that shouldn’t be grounds to terminate my employment.

          In this case, Phil was answering questions posed to humbug a GQ interviewer. He, as far as I know, agree to the interview with the intention of bashing gays.

          That being said, I still think he’s an idiot and his views are archaic.

          Like

          Posted by Twindaddy | December 19, 2013, 7:19 pm
          • That is why many entertainers will not sign contracts with such clauses anymore and many are moving toward the Indie market. The family has no such clause because they go speaking around the country in arenas and in churches. The network knew they did this and knew their views. If the family doesn’t film with A&E, I think another network will pick it up because right now it’s their highest rated show.

            Like

            Posted by kadja1 | December 19, 2013, 11:18 pm
  20. I have to say that I am with Arden on this one. Thank you for going on record with public support for gay marriage. Thank you for being awesome. Much love xx

    Like

    Posted by stephrogers | December 19, 2013, 7:31 pm
  21. I have never seen the show. Originally, I thought that the comment was made on their show. I recently found out that the comment was made in a GQ interview. As far as I’m concerned, the remarks were completely 150% ignorant and hateful. Yet, this is my opinion and I’m sure the cast of the show would not appreciate my opinion. It’s a fine line, ya know. Freedom of speech . . . ignorant or not . . . censor or not . . . termination or not? It’s my understanding that said family is wealthy. Maybe they should start their own network and call it a day. : ) At least this way, the folks that watch the show can tune in knowing full well what they are going to get.

    Like

    Posted by Pocahontas | December 19, 2013, 8:59 pm
  22. Yours is the voice of reason, Twindaddy. Unfortunately, reason has no place in television.

    Like

    Posted by The Hook | December 20, 2013, 11:38 am
  23. I think the suspension is warranted. If he’s fired, that’s taking things a step too far. What is said on a program like Duck Dynasty is one thing, as the people tuning in probably know what they’re going to get. But saying things like that in a neutral forum like a mainstream magazine calls the statements more to people’s attention who don’t even follow those guys. Like me and you, Daddy! And the comments pissed us off! People’s reactions have to be accounted for, as well as the individual’s right to have and say their opinion. What the Palins and Becks and their ilk don’t understand is that denouncing someone’s views has nothing to do with censorship. Say whatever you want. But don’t cry when you are responded to.

    Like

    Posted by Dylan Dailey | December 20, 2013, 11:05 pm
    • Well, I agree that if you’re going to put your opinion out there you should be prepared for people to disagree with it. I’m still not convinced your employer should be able to punish you for expressing your views, no matter how idiotic they may be.

      Like

      Posted by Twindaddy | December 22, 2013, 8:15 am
      • Robertson’s suspension is due to the public reaction. I think A&E execs are mulling over the matter. I’d prefer to not see him, or anyone, get fired for stating their opinion. But the line between opinion and hateful rhetoric is the debate here. People have varied views on that. I think what he said is exactly the definition of “taught hate” that the great Mandela spoke of. Someone like Robertson may not think it’s hate, but it is. If he happens to be too “set in his ways” to unlearn that behavior, maybe the message can still get across to his grandkids. Know what I mean? That’s the good that might come from his suspension and this debate. Setting the example…

        Like

        Posted by Dylan Dailey | December 22, 2013, 1:52 pm
  24. I completely agree! If A&E felt so compelled, they could’ve simply released a statement; however, typically on those reality shows they always have the legal disclaimers reminding the audience that the views expressed on the show don’t reflect those of the network,etc. i also agree that I don’t see the hype in the show. I couldn’t get through 5 minutes.

    Like

    Posted by From Casinos to Castles | December 22, 2013, 8:32 am

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