Duck Dynasty Fallout 2013: Jesse Jackson Compares Phil Robertson to Rosa Parks Bus Driver; Suspension lifted
Phil Robinson's suspension from A&E Network has officially been lifted. Not that this development is surprising as fans of the Duck Dynasty patriarch bombarded the airwaves and Internet in his defense. Robertson was originally suspended from the hit cable show for highly inflammatory remarks about gays. He compared gay sex to bestiality and said that gay people led a sinful lifestyle not in accordance with scripture.
Despite the suspension, Duck Dynasty's place in A&E's TV lineup was secured. The show has generated a half billion dollars in revenue and ratings are through the roof. The season 4 premiere of Duck Dynasty was the most watched non-fiction cable show in history with 11.8 million viewers. Amazingly only 6.3 million people watched the season 3 premiere. The previous record for a non-fiction cable show belonged to TLC's Jon & Kate Plus 8 with 10.6 million viewers. At the time the fourth season's ratings were announced A&E brass couldn't contain their excitement for the Robertson clan's popularity.
"Thanks to its authentic and engaging characters Duck Dynasty has become more than just a reality show, it is a cultural phenomenon," said David McKillop, General Manager and Executive Vice President of A&E. "We would like to thank the Robertson's for their incredible partnership. We are all Happy, Happy, Happy."
Over this entire debacle many people weighed in to voice their opinion on the Robertson's statements. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former politician Sarah Palin were among Robertson's most vocal supporters. Popular southern themed restaurant and gift store Cracker Barrel made a huge public relations mistake when it said it was pulling select Duck Dynasty merchandise from its shelves. Within a day it reversed the decision and put out a statement addressing the snafu.
Among the biggest detractors of Robertson's controversial statements were Civil Rights leader Jesse Jackson and GLAAD. Jackson referred to comments Robertson made about Jim Crow-era blacks during the same GQ interview that started the whole mess. Robertson said that he never observed unhappy black workers during all his time picking cotton alongside them.
"These statements uttered by Robertson are more offensive than the bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama, more than 59 years ago," Jackson said in a statement obtained by ABC News.
"At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law. Robertson's statements were uttered freely and openly without cover of the law, within a context of what he seemed to believe was 'white privilege.'"
GLAAD released a statement targeting the fallacies Robertson perpetuated about the gay community. But Robertson has remained defiant throughout the ordeal.
"I will not give or back off from my path," he reportedly said during a Bible study group in his hometown of West Monroe, La.
Expect this whole war of words to only bolster the lofty Duck Dynasty ratings when season 5 premieres Jan. 15, 2014.
What do you think? Is Phil anti-gay and racist? Let us know in the comments below.
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