If we're going to talk about Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, let's start by remembering something: Martin Bashir actually lost his job at MSNBC. So did Alec Baldwin. A decade ago, Dan Rather really lost his job at CBS, and effectively lost his career with it.
Phil Robertson, a man for whom the right is crying a river of tears, actually hasn't lost his job, and isn't even being taken off the air:
A&E has placed Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson on indefinite hiatus following anti-gay remarks he made in a recent profile in GQ....Oh. So if new episodes featuring Phil are already in the can and will begin airing next month, and filming for the season is nearly complete, how significant is this "hiatus"?
He'll likely appear in season four, which bows Jan. 15, since production is largely wrapped....
All the shouting right now is over one portion of Robertson's offensive remarks:
"It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus," Robertson says in the January issue of the men's magazine. "That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."That's what A&E focused on in its statement:
During a discussion about repentance and God, Robertson is asked what he finds sinful.
"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there," he says. "Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."
He goes on to paraphrase Corinthians: "Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."
"Phil Robertson's remarks are not consistent with the values of our faith communities or the scientific findings of leading medical organizations," president Chad Griffin said in a statement. "We know that being gay is not a choice someone makes, and that to suggest otherwise can be incredibly harmful. We also know that Americans of faith follow the Golden Rule -- treating others with the respect and dignity you'd wish to be treated with. As a role model on a show that attracts millions of viewers, Phil Robertson has a responsibility to set a positive example for young Americans -- not shame and ridicule them because of who they are. The A+E Network should take immediate action to condemn Phil Robertson's remarks and make clear they don't support his views."But let's not forget that Robertson also said this:
"All you have to do is look at any society where there is no Jesus. I'll give you four: Nazis, no Jesus. Look at their record. Uh, Shintos? They started this thing in Pearl Harbor. Any Jesus among them? None. Communists? None. Islamists? Zero. That's eighty years of ideologies that have popped up where no Jesus was allowed among those four groups. Just look at the records as far as murder goes among those four groups."Even if you give Robertson the benefit of the doubt and credit him for distinguishing "Islamists" from other Muslims, there's that bit about the Japanese. Their religion made them go to war? Really? So why aren't they at war now? Are they any more Jesus-y today?
Right-wingers are certainly going to forget that Robertson also said this. They're always going to portray this as pro-gay fascism crushing the poor, persecuted Christians. But Robertson would have deserved to face a backlash just for calling all Japanese people (and, in effect, all non-Christians) murderers. I think something would have happened to him even if he hadn't gone after gay people.
(And "murder" is an interesting word to use there. Do you know what the murder rate per 100,000 population was in Jesus-loving America in 2012? It was 4.7. Know what it was in Japan? It was 0.4.)
Some are saying that Robertson's words were offensive, but the suspension/hiatus/whatever is too harsh a punishment. But I wonder if something else is going on here.
Last March it was reported that the Robertson were holding out for a big salary increase, a dispute with A&E that held up filming of season 4. The dispute was resolved, though apparently the schedule had to be reworked, and it seems as if Phil is still a bit out of sorts:
"Duck Dynasty" season four finale means the fans now wait for the next "Duck Dynasty" season to roll out, but is the show going to be renewed? ...I think A&E is responding to what Phil Robertson said, but I think this is also pushback in an ongoing salary fight, led by a star who's demanding a little more motivation, as it were, to keerp going with the show.
According to Reality TV Magazine on Nov. 1, season four might have seemed a bit too short for the fans. The fans aren't wrong, the season was shorter than normal for A&E's most popular show. "Duck Dynasty's" Jase addressed the short season recently on his Facebook page:
"Season 4 seemed a bit shorter than usual because...it was. However, we added another season to the filming cycle so actually there will be more total episodes when all is completed. The success of the show can be attributed to your support."...Phil Robertson recently made a comment that he was "tired of taping the show" and that comment, along with no official announcement of another season as of yet from A&E, had folks wondering what the fate of TV’s favorite redneck family would be.
Miss Kay recently addressed Phil's comment saying that her husband is going to be just fine after "getting in some much needed hunting time." ...
And he may be thinking either that he's a big enough deal now to say whatever the hell he wants and get plenty of offers even if he upsets his current bosses. Even before Duck Dynasty aired, the Robertsons built their duck-call business into a million-dollar enterprise. The show sells lots of books and a great deal of other merchandise, not to mention tickets to live appearances. Fox News seems to love the Robinsons. (Video of an interview with Phil appears at FoxNews.com with the headline ("Phil Robertson for President?") The Robinsons were hanging out with Sarah Palin even before this story broke. (Palin, naturally, is crying "censorship!" now.) So maybe Phil thinks he can find a new TV home where he can talk like this freely. And maybe he's right.