Duck Dynasty: A&E Tolerates Phil Robertson…Sort of

Duck Dynasty patriarch, Phil Robertson, was suspended from filming by A&E on December 18th. Now, 10 days later A&E has removed the suspension. Phil is again filming the show with his family.

A&E released a statement to The Hollywood Reporter explaining their reversal. The network stated, in part:

“We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold.

But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A+E Networks also feel strongly about.”

Ironic that it took waves of bad publicity and the family standing together for A&E to attempt tolerance and forgiveness over Phil’s comments since they are “not views [they] hold.” Yet, on the other hand A&E admits that the show promotes “unity, tolerance and forgiveness.” Maybe they did not think through the application of these three values they seek to hold with integrity.

Seems A&E explains how they resolve to promote these values in their closing paragraph.

“We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found in Duck Dynasty. These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio.”

Odd that it took A&E’s intolerance of Phil Robertson’s biblically-based beliefs to bring them to launch a PSA campaign promoting unity, tolerance, and acceptance. Phil probably did not feel those core values in action when he was so quickly suspended. Nevertheless, hopefully A&E will work out their core values a little more carefully going forward.

Unity is not uniformity and everyone will not think and believe exactly like their neighbor. People do not have to be united in every jot and tittle of life to have a form of unity. Contrary to popular usage, tolerance is the willingness to put up with something you don’t necessarily agree with. That is, you tolerate disagreeable people, ideologies, beliefs, etc. The only way to achieve the Utopian idea of “acceptance among all people” is to practice the unity and tolerance just mentioned.

Despite A&E’s initial inconsistent application of their values, their reinstatement of Phil is a good move. This situation may play out to be a good example for LGBT advocacy groups like GLAAD to follow. Maybe groups like GLAAD will better learn how to tolerate Christian beliefs such as homosexuality being a sin.

Even when groups of a common cause seek unity through uniformity, tolerance still exists. Even members of such groups do not generally agree 100% with each other except on foundational issues around which such groups are created. But these groups continue working together, sharpening each other through the exchange of ideas not through shutting down dialogue.

Finally, many hold to a Christian worldview while many disagree with it, though both sides have a seat at the table. Each side believes the other wrong – that is the world we live in. We do not have much choice, but to tolerate each other. How much more the public marketplace of competing worldviews might benefit from the open exchange of ideas and disagreements.

Here I blog…


p.s. Now, if we could just get Jesse Jackson to attempt to apply a little tolerance, unity, and acceptance.

tagged as , , , , , , , in Christianity,Culture,morality,relativism,theology

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 nvahalik December 30, 2013 at 8:49 am

I wonder if this was a case of nearly killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

2 Jessica Warner December 30, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I can see how A & E wants to distance themselves from any sort of prejudices.At the same time I do think organizations and businesses should be more respectful to the first amendment.  I don’t think people read about his statement and then started hating on A & E or even the show he was on. It was a viral marketing stunt by A & E to fire him because they knew they would get this publicity.

3 Mark Lamprecht December 30, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Jessica Warner Sounds about right and the stunt backfired.


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