Following the news that A&E has lifted Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson's suspension, initially instated over homophobic and racist comments he made in an interview with GQ, GLAAD released a statement condemning the network's move.
Phil Robertson should look African American and gay people in the eyes and hear about the hurtful impact of praising Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists. If dialogue with Phil is not part of next steps then A+E has chosen profits over African American and gay people – especially its employees and viewers.
In addition to announcing filming would resume on Duck Dynasty, A&E has promised it would film PSAs "promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people." A&E has not said whether Robertson or any of the Duck Dynasty clan will be incorporated in these messages.
Recently, GLAAD Vice President of Communications Rich Ferraro said the organization has experienced significant backlash in response to their criticism of Robertson and their support of his suspension. However, the group has vowed not to back down.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson has weighed in on the never-ending Duck Dynasty controversy, and true to form the reverend pulled no punches. Said Jackson:
These statements uttered by Robertson are more offensive than the bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama, more than 59 years ago. 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.’
Jackson, his Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and GLAAD are wanting to meet with A&E and Cracker Barrel execs to discuss Robertson's continued suspension as well as the future of Duck Dynasty merchandise and future content of the show, saying that it's not right for someone with such toxic views to benefit from the substantial public platform that they have been given.
Clothing manufacturer Under Armour, which supplies the camo threads for Duck Dynasty, is sticking by the show but issued a disclaimer that the remarks made by Phil Robertson are not indicative of the company's beliefs. Meanwhile southern restaurant chain Cracker Barrel is pulling Robertson-related products from its shelves.
Writes the restaurant chain on its Facebook page:
Cracker Barrel’s mission is Pleasing People. We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture. We continue to offer Duck Commander products in our stores. We removed selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests while we evaluate the situation. We continually evaluate the products we offer and will continue to do so.
We called a bunch of Cracker Barrel stores, and the managers told us the products that were removed were the ones that had Phil's face plastered on the packaging. Almost to a person, the managers added, "We still offer a wide variety of Duck Commander products," and then we heard a click.
Watch an ABC7 report on the sponsors,
AFTER THE JUMP...
Meanwhile, GLAAD is facing its biggest backlash in years, The Wrap reports:
“In the five-and-a-half years I’ve worked at GLAAD, I’ve never received so many violently angry phone calls and social media posts attacking GLAAD for us speaking out against these comments,” the media watchdog organization’s vice president of communications Rich Ferraro told TheWrap.
He said those reactions range from those who simply believe as Robertson believes to those who feel that GLAAD and A&E’s actions limit the reality star’s free speech.
Ferraro says it isn't stopping GLAAD:
The organization is also currently researching companies who use Robertson as a spokesperson.
“Silence is agreement in this case,” he said. “With such egregious anti-gay and racist comments, those companies that choose to be affiliated with this family need to speak out.”
GLAAD's Jeremy Hooper and Family Research Council hate group leader Tony Perkins joined Megyn Kelly last night for a discussion of Phil Robertson and the Duck Dynasty firestorm. Unfortunately, Hooper and Perkins did not get to share the screen.
Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP...
Media Matters notes:
Hooper challenged Kelly to hold Perkins accountable for his anti-gay record and vile rhetoric, to which Kelly promised, "What specifically? Because I'll ask him."
But Kelly never asked Perkins to explain his extreme stances against the gay community, nor did she acknowledge that the FRC is a designated hate group. Instead she merely identified FRC as "a group whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and culture from a Christian world view"--a description that continues Fox's trend of referring to anti-gay extremism as Christianity. Perkins went on to defend Robertson as upholding "biblical morality" and attack homosexuality as "sexual immorality."
Perkins blasted Robertson's suspension earlier on Thursday:
"A&E's suspension of Phil Robertson shows Hollywood wants to avoid reality. The reality is that the Robertson family are Bible-believing Christians who don't cherry pick what the Bible teaches.
"Phil Robertson has been targeted simply because he expressed his religious beliefs but there is a clear double standard that is being applied. Nothing was done when homosexual activist Dan Savage screamed profanities at Christian high school students and called them 'pansy-(expletive deleted).' However, when Christians simply say homosexuality is wrong and they don't agree with it, there are demands that they be fired and silenced.
"We have also seen wedding florists, bakers, and photographers hauled into court, fined and even ordered to violate their religious beliefs by participating in same-sex weddings. It is time for all Americans to take a stand against the cultural elites who want to destroy the livelihood of people and remove God and His truth from every aspect of public life.
"The increasing awareness of this collateral cultural and religious carnage that accompanies the redefinition of natural marriage will continue to cause the debate over same-sex marriage to intensify, not abate, despite the media's relative silence and homosexual activists increasing campaign of intimidation," concluded Perkins.
GLAAD has launched a Christmas card campaign targeting governors in the 34 states without marriage equality and is providing addresses and urging LGBT families and allies to share their holiday photos.
Cooper Smith Koch and Todd Koch, who along with their two children were featured in a 2012 JC Penney Fathers’ Day ad, are featured in a card above, and have joined GLAAD in launching the campaign.
Said Cooper Smith Koch: "It's a lot harder to oppose something when you can see its face and you know its name. That's why we're sending a holiday card to Governor Perry, so that he can see the faces of the citizens of Texas that are being harmed by inequality. And so that he can see the love that we have for our children and how it's the same as the love he has for his."
Find out where to send your card here.