A&E reverses decision on 'Duck Dynasty' patriarch

Network says it is welcoming Phil Robertson back after dialogue with family, advocacy groups
Associated Press
Dec 28, 2013


A&E landed in the middle of America's culture wars when "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson sounded off on gays and the Bible. The channel quickly found there was no safe ground.

It was pilloried for allowing a man who equated gays with hell-bound sinners like adulterers to have a national TV stage. Then it was excoriated for giving him the hook.

With A&E's decision Friday to bring Robertson back to its most-watched show, it remains to be seen if it can mend fences with both sides — or at least with those viewers who hold opposing views.

The channel's interest is in ratings and revenue, not refereeing social discord.

Will those who called for an A&E boycott unless Robertson returned be satisfied? Will "Duck Dynasty" fans who enjoy the Louisiana duck call-making family but were offended by Robertson's comments watch again?

The family itself, which had threatened to withdraw if Phil wasn't welcomed back, didn't rush out with its own make-nice reaction Friday. The gay right group GLAAD, which had slammed Robertson's comments to GQ magazine, issued a critical statement despite A&E's vague allusion to the support of "numerous advocacy groups" for its reversal.

"If dialogue with Phil is not part of (the) next steps, then A&E has chosen profits over African-American and gay people — especially its employees and viewers," GLAAD said, referring to Robertson's remark to GQ that he didn't know any unhappy blacks in the pre-Civil Rights era South.

A&E said it intended to air a national public service campaign "promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people."

Randy Schmidt, a "Duck Dynasty" viewer in Illinois, said he's glad to see Robertson back on the show that Schmidt admires for its "Christian values."

Although he didn't care for Robertson's comments he has a right to express his opinions, Schmidt said. He added that he's likely not the only one pleased about Robertson's return.

"A&E's pocketbook will be happy, too," Schmidt predicted.

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council in Washington, wasn't among those calling for a boycott but said A&E could have suffered without its "about-face."

"We're seeing play out in front of us this great clash of cultures. Those in Hollywood don't quite understand the values that for many of these people — and I put myself in that category — our values and faith are non-negotiable," Perkins said.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who had said that Miley Cyrus got a pass for twerking on TV while Phil got shown the door, lauded A&E for putting tolerance for religious views above "political correctness."

Other shows have weathered their outspoken talent by simply bouncing them or not blocking their departure: Think Isaiah Washington on "Grey's Anatomy," fired in 2007 for referring to one of his show's gay actors with a pejorative, or Alec Baldwin exiting his new MSNBC talk show after using gay slurs off the air.

But A&E found that easy road blocked for a reality show celebrity who was too real for some, just right for others.

Within a day of Robertson's removal, more than a half-million people liked an impromptu Facebook page demanding A&E be boycotted until he returns. A petition calling for A&E to bring him back reached 250,000 signatures and counting in about a week.

The controversy similarly ensnared the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain, which removed "Duck Dynasty"-related merchandise from its shelves and then reversed course and apologized after being hit with complaints.

While TV ratings tend to fluctuate, particularly during the holidays when viewing drops, the overall A&E audience was smaller after it landed in "Duck" soup than before.

For the week of Dec. 16-22, the channel averaged 1.5 million viewers, compared to 2 million for the week before, according to Nielsen figures.

During the week of Dec. 17-23 last year, a roughly comparable period to the post-Robertson flap week, the channel averaged 1.73 million viewers.

"Duck Dynasty" is the channel's highest-rated program and set a reality show record for cable with nearly 12 million viewers for its fourth-season debut this past summer.

Last week, the family said in a statement on its Duck Commander website that although some of Phil Robertson's comments were coarse, "his beliefs are grounded" in the Bible and he "is a Godly man." They also said that "as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm."

"Duck Dynasty" is on hiatus until Jan. 15, and the network has said that nine of next season's 10 episodes have already been filmed. That means Robertson likely wasn't needed in front of the camera before next March.


Raoul Duke

Everyone should make a point of NOT NOT NOT watching this show now. Because this was all a ploy to get free publicity and improve ratings. All at the expense of our IQ points. Screw that dude, and you can quote me on that!!!

Erie Sniper

"a ploy to improve ratings." It was already the #1 ranked reality show of all time. How can you improve on those ratings?


Can't tell you how much I LOVE,LOVE,LOVE this show.

From the Grave

Douche Dynasty


Yeah that would be your answer. First off they had the highest rated show already- do you honestly think they would jeopardize that with a run-in with the GLBT community? That's a great way of sinking your own ship in the PC culture we live in today. Second, the only IQ points being lost are from those who are caught up in everything "reality T.V." Thirdly, I would think that having everyone including Wal-Mart selling duck dynasty merchandise- means you don't need a whole lot more publicity for your T.V. show- especially not negative PR. What this does have everything to do with however is the almighty $. That's it. They chose the side they felt would make them the most money- to heck with the GLBT- the Christian community- the far-right- or anybody else. Always follow the money- that's the golden rule.

Raoul Duke

Okay, then he IS just a complete moron~thanks for pointing that out to me. Because anybody who has a top rated show and starts making negative comments about ANY group of people during this time of insane political correct~ness, can only be INSANE or STUPID. Either way...
I say don't watch it. Yeah, that would be my answer.


And that's exactly where they want you Raoul- afraid and quiet. Thank you for succumbing so easily- you fit in well in our not-so-brave world.

Raoul Duke


JudgeMeNot's picture

Liberals like you RD have nothing - only insults

Raoul Duke

By JudgeMeNot, you only mean, don't judge you, but you can judge other people, right? I knew it...


He was a multi millionaire before the show. He has a belief and he is loyal to it. Don't like it, don't watch. People with balls don't fall to their knees to please the masses. They stand behind what they believe and go about with their lives. You sir are a simple man. I love the show, and I will support Phil til the end.

Raoul Duke

With that kind of thinking, we'd still have slavery in this country~Phil would probably be all for it. You can't trust those southern savages.
I would also guess that millionaires don't waste time watching stupid TV shows.


That's poop

Raoul Duke

BTW, thank you for the compliment!

yea right

who in the world cares about "political" correctness..and as far as money..well each time we turn the tv on or buy something or surf the net..someone somewhere is making money..


yea right, I've read your post three times- I'm confused (as usual)- from what you wrote- you said absolutely nothing... nothing...

yea right

s o r r y i t y p e d t o f a s t f o r y o u . .


Is that Yiddish? sorr-yity-ped-tof-astfor-you?

yea right

aww someone feeling left out are we..can not keep up with us well educated ppl.. I hear head start is taking applications..


Well I will have you know that I am quite proud of having graduated within the top 2% of the bottom half of my class!

yea right

out of 3 ppl in the class


Once again, you make no sense. Out of three? That would still place me in the middle- geez.... Can't even take a little light-hearted humor from a person willing to show some self-deprecation- (Oh my, I guess I shouldn't have used such a big word there- don't mean to confuse you more).


I love going back and forth yearight- we'll probably be in perfect agreement on the next story- one of those love-hate relationship things- don't take my badgering too seriously k...

yea right


2cents's picture

It's all about dollars.
You saw how Paula Dean scrambled to cover her butt over a comment that is as common among people today as it was when she said it. The only reason the PC police have people on the run is that they have entitled them to a no respect for themselves in regard their views of morality attitude, religion or other. It has become a numbers game and people will sell their souls for the all mighty dollar to keep others happy. Cracker Barrel, how silly of you, your jumping to cover your butt makes you look like fools, jumping to please all. Well my home cooking is better anyway!

We as a country are looking like fools to the rest of the world, they are beginning to look at America as a week, silly bunch of people, no longer having the internal strength we onetime had after breaking away from the British Empire. Just take a good look at the UK, they have succumbed to all this PC crap and are heading down after being a global super power.


Re: "Paula Dean"

I took advantage of her unfortunate set of circumstances and bought her block knife set at a steep discount from Walmart. Nice set!

I'm waiting for Emeril Legasse to say something non-PC for a new cookware set. :)


Dang, that's a great shopping technique! I need a new coffee pot- now let's see, hmmm, who makes those...


Re: "great shopping technique!"

Also an investment technique that I've successfully used when bad news hits good cos. like Toyota, BP, JP Morgan and others.

Buy low, sell high. :)


I always did better on shorts- sell high, buy low. Scalp the market


Re: "shorts"

Brave guy.

IMO, shorting the mkt. should come with the caveat:

Potentially lose more money faster than you ever thought possible.


As my instructor taught- think of gravity, objects fall faster than having the inertia to climb against it. Trick is knowing when to enter, if trade goes more than $75 against me- I'm out. Cut your losses quick, and don't be in more than two trades simultaneously. Has worked for me. (LEVEL 2 platform)


Well, I would say the British Empire was long gone even before they got bit by the PC bug. I would steer that even further to countries like France and the Netherlands which really succumbed to the virus- but I agree that everyone just ducks for cover these days instead of standing upon their principles- no matter how unpopular it might make you. Dangerous days IMO


Re: "I would say the British Empire was long gone,"

WW1 hurt them economically and WW2 bankrupted them.

Around 1948, they handed the world's keys to the U.S. and said: Good luck!

We've been attempting to clean up a lot of their colonial messes ever since, e.g., Israel, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, et. al.


Funny, most of you think this is just a bunch of rednecks anyway. Truth is almost all of them have a college degree. The one guy on the show is just about finished if not already with his Phd.



Never saw one single episode of DD & don't intend to.


You and I agree contango. LOL

Stop It

Watched it once. Never will again. Matter of fact, I don't watch anything that claims to be a reality show.

I watch (maybe) 4 TV shows a week. During their specific seasons. Most usually on cable. Marathons can burn in hell, if there is one.

Catch a good movie on occasion sometimes. Geeks find more entertainment on the net. AND NO, I DON'T MEAN PORN.

We can be safe to say that the RIAA and MPAA probably hate people like me.


having a college degree does not mean you are necessarily smart-it just means you got through the classes. I know lots of college graduates that still can't make a complete sentence or understand what they just read. what bothers me about this whole thing is that so many people supported Phil but the same people do nothing about real causes, such as neglected and abused children and animals. Phil didn't even need the support; he's rich and doesn't need A&E either. I was told years ago that the average intelligence of a newspaper reader was equivalent to a 6th grade education. I believe that pretty much applies to most of America also. If Duck Dynasty is the top rated show and a favorite for millions, that pretty much proves the lack of intelligence of most people.

JudgeMeNot's picture

You prove a point.


At least DD is not a T and A show where every show has some kind of sex or fighting or murder in it.The only thing they kill is food for the table. Any more about all the shows on tv that are supposed to be comedies are so retarded that I can't even begin to watch them. Yes, they do some silly stuff, but it's a fun silly stuff and it's a clean silly stuff. Also, Phil doesn't have a big rich house, he lives in the same trailer he did before this even started, so he isn't showing off his money. So, glad you back Phil.


All I can say is take the show off the air . Its a waste .

JudgeMeNot's picture

Gene, its only a waste if you pay for the channel and never watch it.

dorothy gale

When I want a dose of hillbilly stupidity, I watch reruns of The Beverly Hillbillies. Much funnier, more wholesome, and just about as "real."

JudgeMeNot's picture

So you must be above those rednecks.

dorothy gale

I am not above anyone. Just saying that when I want to watch a tv show that portrays a stupid stereotype, I will choose one that is actually funny and entertaining.


oheaglefl, It is getting harder and harder to not be optically raped every time you turn on the T.V. isn't it? Don't watch DD myself, but there's a lot worse head candy out there.

yea right

here are a few quotes from Wikipedia "The show had $80 million in advertising sales for the first nine months of 2013, and merchandise has generated another $400 million in revenue, about half of which is through Walmart." .. "Willie Robertson (Willie Jess Robertson) is Phil and Miss Kay's third son, the CEO of Duck Commander. He has a bachelor's degree in health and human performance with an emphasis on business from University of Louisiana at "

also Willie is worth 20 million..brother Jas is worth 10 million..all from hard work


So there is a lot of people with a lack of common sense ,So whats you point ?

JudgeMeNot's picture

What's yours?


Hard work from the Chinese slave labor producing the products and hard work form the minimally paid Wal Mart employees forced to stock and peddle the never-ending stream of plastic garbage emblazoned with these bearded and rather unkept-looking individuals. Murica.


Who wants to invest some capital in my new company- Elephant Commander! It's a revolutionary design consisting of 3 inch PVC pipe with a latex glove stretched over the end and the fingers cut out- product testing is now underway. So far we've only managed to call in a crackhead and a couple possums- but we'll perfect it I'm sure! I can see the millions rolling in already from my new reality T.V. show... UPDATE: I'm sorry to say that product testing has been halted until further notice due to an unfortunate accident involving our elephant caller... memorial contributions on his behalf may be sent to PETA, ASPCA...

JudgeMeNot's picture



Ohh, really, I thought it was kind of funny. You would have been one of the judges who would have gonged everybody off the gong show I bet- hard to please these days...

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

Flagged for off-topic bull$h1t.


All I can say (Follow Da Money) and another thing they say there Christians on the show....yea right...I don't watch any of these shows on TV, they will not get a dime out me...or walmart.


Since the death of the history channel and the like actually showing documentaries viewers are left with a choice between reality shows (Mind numbing stupidity on a grand scale)or the news (More mind numbing stupidity with real world consequences) People need to demand more from the media or it will lead to a society who is so mentally diminished We will never recover from it.
I personally would like to start a class action suit against the history channel, Discovery, The Learning channel, ect, ect for false advertisement. The history channel should be named "The Garage sale junk channel", Discovery as "Conspiracy and mythical creature seen while drunk or stoned channel", And The learning channel as "Honey Boo Boo channel". This I think would lead to better programming and more educational shows.

dorothy gale



Though I agree with your assessment of the cable networks, you have to be able to see that a portion of the American public is already "mentally diminished", thus creating the demand for such shows. It's not a matter of the people being in the process of being "dumbed down" - they're already there- which is why we all get to comment on them everyday in these forums.


Dragging the rest of the population down to get ratings ought to be treated as a act of terrorism. They are training a entire generation of our youths to root through garbage, Eat spaghetti with ketchup and chase mythical creatures through the woods.
My mother used to call it the "Idiot box", I think she hit the nail on the head.

Darwin's choice

And, while all the sillyness over the duckblasters is consuming everyone, the cost of gasoline has jumped up 60 cents a gallon.

There's something for you all to focus on.

Thanks obama.

The Big Dog's back

darwin's failure. Enough said.

Darwin's choice

Aww.. obama withdrawl there azz licker?

Here's some failure news that should keep you going until you can get back under the desk with coasterfail....

"The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) warned the citizens of Iowa who have applied for Obamacare using the federal health care portal to try, try again, using the websites or call center. Nearly 16,000 Iowans whose applications are currently in limbo are going to receive emails and letters from DHS.

Federal officials told the Iowans that more time would be necessary to process the Iowa citizens’ applications from HealthCare.gov.

DHS Director Charles M. Palmer asserted, "We are working hard to ensure that Iowans who applied through HealthCare.gov will be enrolled in health coverage. We are encouraging Iowans who applied at the federal portal to reapply through our state website and call center. We will make every effort to process applications in a timely manner so that these Iowans can have certainty about their health care coverage." "

More obama failure!!

"It's the gift that gives all year long Clark"......!