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'Duck Dynasty': Network Caves, Unsuspends Robertson

Peter Z. Scheer
Managing Editor
Peter Scheer grew up in the newspaper business, spending family vacations with his mother at newspaper editors' conferences, enjoying daycare in editorial departments and begrudgingly reviewing his father's…
Peter Z. Scheer

After declaring homosexuality the origin of sin (followed by bestiality), reality TV redneck Phil Robertson has been un-reprimanded by the Arts and Entertainment network.

“Duck Dynasty” is A&E’s biggest show, one of the highest rated programs on TV, let alone cable. The network suspended its star, nonetheless. Until Friday, when it un-suspended Robertson, who was on hiatus anyway. As The New York Times points out, A&E made the grovelling announcement “at close of business on Friday of a holiday weekend on the slowest week of the year in the entertainment business.”

So was it the conservatives who rallied behind Robertson that did the trick? Probably not. As the Times notes:

The suspension stirred an uproar among fans of the show and also conservative political and religious leaders. More than 250,000 signed a petition demanding Phil Robertson’s reinstatement. Cries of anti-Christian bias from famous Republicans like Sarah Palin and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana also followed.

More ominously, the family issued a statement saying in effect there would be no show without their patriarch.

Forget principle and politics, this is television. No one at the network was going to risk ending a hit show over a little innocent bigotry.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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