Thursday, December 19, 2013

Everyone's still quaking about Robertson's anti-gay comments

Critics continue to sky-bust over negative comments about the gay lifestyle made by Duck Commander founder and “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson.

Yet Robertson has his supporters while several sponsors of the Robertson clan's waterfowling empire are largely keeping mum on the controversy.

The 67-year-old Robertson founded the still-family run Duck Commander duck call business in 1973, its home port being West Monroe, La.

Capitalizing on the business's success, Duck Commander branched out and entered the television circuit, first on an outdoors-related cable network and most lately with the A&E franchise.

With the latter “Duck Dynasty” has become a runaway hit, drawing more than 11.8 million viewers and its forth season premier becoming the most watched non-fiction series in cable television history.

However, in the most recent issue of “GQ” magazine, Robertson was interviewed and quoted as saying homosexuality is a sin; a position consistent with Robertson's Evangelical Christian beliefs.

For those not familiar with GQ magazine the publication's website says this about itself:

“GQ magazine is a men's magazine written for young professional men that combines style advice and smart editorial. For more than 50 years, GQ--previously known as Gentleman's Quarterly--has provided definitive coverage of style and culture of interest to the modern man.”

Gasping for air following Robertson's comments about homosexuality, A&E pulled the plug on the senior family member from appearing in future episodes. At least for the time being and not until after the next soon-to-be-seen episodes appear.

But even that could change when in the same GQ story also included controversial comments made by Robertson regarding his take on his relationship with blacks in the days before the civil rights era.

While both the gay community and some black leaders are calling for Robertson's head, he does have his supporters.

CBS News is reporting that more than one million people have indicated “like” on the newly generated “Boycott A&E until Phil Robertson is back on Duck Dynasty” Facebook page.

And at least one “Duck Dynasty” sponsor remains firmly committed to supporting Robertson.

Truck suspension manufacturer Skyjacker has been quoted as saying: "We are a Christian- based company and actively share our faith so standing with Phil Robertson is an easy choice for us."
Yet some other high-profile Duck Commander/Robertson family backers are hanging back.

Among them is Federal Cartridge Company which has had a long business relationship with Robertson and his Duck Commander company. At one point Robertson's image even appeared on every box of a particular non-toxic brand of the ammunition maker's shotshells.

Federal has not yet responded to an inquiry regarding Robertson's comments as it relates to the firm's relationship with the man.

Another major sponsor of Duck Commander and who utilizes Robertson's image is O.F. Mossberg and Sons.

Mossberg is a premier manufacturer of long guns, including – and maybe especially – shotguns used for hunting.

The company currently is heavily into promoting a new line of hunting shotguns along with rifles branded under the Duck Commander banner.

When asked about the flap regarding Robertson, a chef Mossberg spokeswoman replied that the company “has no plans to release a statement.”

All of which may prove moot anyway. The reason being that the next series of episodes has all ready been shot and scheduled to commence in January.

Only time will tell what the ultimate outcome will bring. That, and perhaps whether the protests and counter-protests will impact A&E as to how important “Duck Dynasty” is to the cable network's bottom line.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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