UPDATE, 8 AM: After hitting its goal of 200,000 signatures on its petition calling for A&E Network to immediately reinstate Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson in just a few days, the organization that calls itself Faith Driven Consumers set a new goal of 250,000. Which it hit the night after Christmas. Christmas, not coincidentally is the day the extremely press-savvy Phil decided to illustrate one of his comments to GQ and a subsequent church group meeting that “If you’re a man, find yourself a woman. Marry them and keep your sex right there…Common sense says we are not going to procreate the human race unless we have a man and a woman. From the beginning Jesus said, ‘It is a man and a woman.’” In a photo tweeted Christmas Day by his granddaughter, Phil is seen pointing to an apparently new wedding ring on the finger of his wife, Miss Kay, with the caption: “After 50 years of marriage Papaw Phil finally gave Mamaw Kay a wedding ring for Christmas ??”
A&E Network yanked the star of its reality hit over comments he made about homosexuality in the January edition of GQ, specifically his having compared homosexuality to bestiality. The petition demands A&E cease its “discriminatory censorship of Mr. Robertson and to treat people of faith with equality, fairness, and true tolerance.”
PREVIOUS, DECEMBER 20 AM: More than 113,000 signatures have been collected on the IStandWithPhil petition, calling for A&E Network to immediately re-instate Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, while the rest of the Robertson clan say they won’t do the show without Phil, and A&E handles death threats from more rabid fans.
PREVIOUS, DECEMBER 19 PM: Nearly 82,000 people, in about nine hours, have signed the IStandWithPhil petition, calling for A+E network to immediately reinstate Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson. The 77K “are making a clear statement to A&E that its actions are censoring Faith Driven Consumers and eliminating them from an entertainment choice that people of faith overwhelmingly support,” said Chris Stone, petition creator and founder of the the organization that says it connects “Christian consumers” with “faith-compatible companies.”
Meanwhile, those who don’t want to put their signatures on a petition were given phone numbers for A+E Networks execs by Sean Hannity, so they could vent on the phone. “A+E knows how he feels about this,” Hannity said on his radio show, of Robertson’s religious beliefs. “Why did they put him with a GQ guy in the first place? How stupid are they?” Then he gave them the phone numbers A+E Network CEO Abbe Raven and president Nancy Dubuc. “I’m not telling people what to say. Be polite. I always urge that. But call them and tell them what you think.”
PREVIOUS, DECEMBER 19 AM: An organization that says it connects “Christian consumers” with “faith-compatible companies” has launched an IStandWithPhil.com petition drive, calling for A&E network to immediately reinstate Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson, and apologize to viewers of the show who also hold Robertson’s beliefs. A&E Network yesterday yanked the star of its reality hit, over anti-gay comments he made in the January edition of GQ, released yesterday. The petition demands A&E cease its “discriminatory censorship of Mr. Robertson and to treat people of faith with equality, fairness, and true tolerance.”
“Simply put, Phil Robertson is being censored and punished for quoting the Bible, and A&E’s treatment of him is punitive and highly discriminatory, ” said Chris Stone, petition creator and founder of a group called Faith Driven Consumer.
A&E’S decision yesterday to suspend Robertson was no small move — the series’ Season 4 debut remains the No. 1-rated nonfiction series telecast in cable history with 11.8 million viewers. For A&E it was its best-ever series telecast in adults 18-49 (6.3 million viewers) and adults 18-34 (3 million). The Louisiana family also secured big salary increases just before that record Season 4 premiere, with the clan reportedly earning more than $200,000 an episode — roughly 4.5 times more than their previous salaries – divvied up among the nine adults and 11 kids on the show. That said, putting Robertson on “indefinite hiatus” leaves A&E a lot of wiggle room as it navigates the next several days worth of developments on the controversy — which last night included getting blasted for its decision by some on Fox News Channel.
In the GQ article profiling the family behind the reality hit, Robertson — who in the story described his family as “Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television” — called homosexuality a sin and said, “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.” Asked what is sinful, he replied: “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.”
The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT civil rights group in the U.S., denounced Robertson’s remarks as, “dangerous and revisionist, appealing to those in our society who wish to repeat patterns of discrimination.” And GLAAD slammed Robertson’s remarks as “vile” while commending A&E for suspend its star. “What’s clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike,” the organization said in a statement.
Stone, and petition signers, however, insist Robertson’s views are those of “the majority of Americans.” “Everyday people will not stand for this, they know bullying and violation of religious freedom when they see it”; the petition maintains A&E’s actions “effectively censors a legitimate viewpoint held by the majority of Americans” and demands the network formally apologize to Robertson, his family, and the millions of viewers who tune in every week, stand by him, and share his worldview.”
Dear A&E Network,
I am writing to you regarding your network’s intolerant, discriminatory, and punitive treatment of Mr. Phil Robertson, star of A&E’s #1 hit show, Duck Dynasty.
Mr. Robertson’s comments in GQ Magazine are simply reflective of a Biblical view of sexuality, marriage, and family – a view that has stood the test of time for thousands of years and continues to be held by the majority of Americans and today’s world as a whole.
Many members of the LGBT community may not agree with this view, but the notion that a free-thinking American should be discriminated against simply for expressing a perspective that is in conflict with another is patently un-American and flies in the face of true tolerance and civility. A&E’s position, which in your own words is “championing” the gay and lesbian community — which I believe you have the freedom to do — excludes the views of Faith Driven Consumers and effectively censors a legitimate viewpoint held by the majority of Americans.
As a Faith Driven Consumer, I am signing this petition to demand that my views be treated with equality and respect in America’s rich rainbow of diversity.
I am asking your network to immediately reinstate Mr. Robertson to Duck Dynasty, and to formally apologize to him, his family, and the millions of viewers who tune in every week, stand by him, and share his worldview. While the LGBT community may be offended by his opposing viewpoint, your rash, discriminatory, and unfair treatment toward Mr. Robertson — a recognized symbol of the faith community — is a slap in the face to Faith Driven Consumers and everyday Americans alike.
There are 46 million Faith Driven Consumers in America today who spend 1.75 trillion dollars annually. Should you refuse to equally respect and welcome our legitimately held views, we will gladly stop watching this and all other A&E programming and turn to any reformulation of Duck Dynasty on another network – while simultaneously supporting brands that stand with the show and the Robertson family.