You all know about this thing where Phil Robertson, the head hillbilly on "Duck Dynasty" said homosexuality is a sin and now A&E Networks is "suspending" him from future episodes of the show? I don't have to lay it out for you all over again, right? Good. (Note: Despite numerous jokes to the contrary, Pat Robertson is not related to Duck Dynasty's Robertson clan. Also, I don't watch "Duck Dynasty," so I only have vague conceptions of what the show is like.)
As The Daily Banter points out, after four seasons and hundreds of hours of raw footage, "there’s no way the network didn't know his true thoughts and feelings. He could barely keep them to himself most of the time anyway; someone almost certainly had to work around his commentary that wouldn’t be appropriate for air."
In fact, Phil Robertson's religious beliefs were part of the show from the very beginning. Just last month, Alan Robertson, Phil's son and a former pastor, joined Gordon Robertson (Pat's son) on his warm-up show, 700 Club Interactive, and said that papa Phil told the Duck Dynasty producers up front that he wouldn't do the show if he couldn't preach along the way:
“When the production company came in for the very first time…and they're telling him about the ideas [for the show]…he held his Bible up, and he said, ‘Is this going to be in?’ and the producers said, ‘Phil, that's a part of your life, whatever's part of your life is going to be on this show.’ He said, ‘If this isn't in, I don't want to do this.’ ”A colorful backwoods redneck wants to tote his Bible on national television? Surely he won't say anything that will offend anyone! Okay, at least not on the show, because TV producers know enough to cut those parts out. It's when he becomes famous enough to talk on the record outside the show that he poses a problem. A&E surely had to know he was a loaded gun waiting to go off.
Or maybe they were prepared for this eventuality. The Superficial puts forward the plausible theory that this is all one big ratings gambit: making Phil Robertson a martyr on the altar of liberal political correctness is just the latest riling up of America's right-wing, and ultimately serves to increase the show's exposure and viewership.
As I pointed out on my personal Twitter account, A&E subjected Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman to the same "suspension" in November 2007 for using the N-word—but production eventually resumed, new episodes aired the following July, and the show ran successfully for four more seasons as if the whole incident never happened. So much for any corporate values or standards that A&E might profess.
And in case you were wondering—which I know you weren't—Pat Robertson fully supports Phil Robertson's homophobia.
“I'm one of his supporters, I think he's a terrific guy… What he said is fundamental Christian truth: homosexuality is a sin! Adultery is a sin!… The Bible makes it very clear that certain things are such that ‘the land will vomit them out’! Read Leviticus, it's in there very clearly.”But if you want to laugh, keep that video going and check out how Pat's co-host Terry Meeuwsen thinks that Duck Dynasty's popularity stems from the family's conservative moral values. Yes, that's why people watch the show, not because they want to gawk at hillbillies. Just like America craved the good wholesome values on "Jersey Shore" a whole two years ago.