So Phil Robertson, head of the Duck Dynasty clan, has generated a lot of controversy, to the point where A&E, the network that airs the TV show, has suspended Mr. Robertson from future episodes. After reading what he said in his GQ interview, I was really surprised to see how widely he was defended for what he said.
First, his comments on sexuality:
“It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. 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.”
Then, his comments on racism and/or civil rights:
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’ — not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
Now my reactions:
For the reader/fan
- If you’re a fan of Duck Dynasty who is also conservative and who has a problem with sex outside of marriage, then I think your problem should start with the fact that Phil agreed to an interview with GQ magazine. The magazine is not exactly a supporter of traditional, conservative values, especially when it comes to sex.
- Despite the defense of many people, Phil’s comments on sex and sexuality have very little to do with what the Bible says. He says the word “sin” once, and does nothing to connect his comments directly to what the Bible actually says. Instead, he makes some unfortunate, awkward, PG-13 comments. What’s more, his comments can be offensive to women, as it essentially reduces them to a body part.
- The comments on racism/civil rights? Just ignorant and offensive.
For the A&E TV network
- You put a family on a “reality” show and encourage them to speak their mind, to be as eccentric as possible, yet when he does just this in a GQ interview, you don’t like it and suspend him from the show. I hope you can see how this would be confusing for fans of the show.
For Phil Robertson
- Having been in the public eye for a number of years now, you must understand how your words will be edited, and how what you will say will be closely scrutinized and judged. Especially when giving an interview, you have to weigh what you say. Not only is your reputation on the line, and your potential employment, but real people read your comments and have real reactions. Perhaps you’re sheltered from that as a “TV star” who seems to spend all of your time around your family (people who are very much like you), but there is a very diverse world of very good people out there, and reducing them to be a judged by a single factor — a body part, their sexual orientation, the color of their skin, etc. — is unfortunate and uneducated. I think you need to realize the influence you have and make better use of your platform.