Opinion: Columnists

Follow the money to get to the bottom of the 'Duck Dynasty' saga

Opinion,Gregory Kane,Columnists,Gay Marriage,Duck Dynasty,Television,Gay rights

The Phil Robertson saga gets curiouser and curiouser, does it not?

Robertson is one of several stars of the A&E's reality show “Duck Dynasty.” The show is a mega-hit, raking in millions for the network.

I’ve never watched the show — duck hunting and reality television simply not being my things — but I’ve read and heard that each episode concludes with the Robertson family gathering together in prayer.

Phil Robertson is a devout Christian and had no qualms expressing that in an interview he did with GQ Magazine.

Robertson said he believed homosexuality was a sin; other comments he made were not too friendly about gays and lesbians.

Anticipating the pressure that would come when people usually say such things, A&E honchos immediately suspended Robertson and issued this pious statement:

We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series "Duck Dynasty." His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.

If officials at A&E are true champions of the “LGBT community,” then they had better keep up with the times. The term now in vogue is LGBTQ, with the “Q” standing for “queer.”

We can only guess how many other letters will be added and what they’ll stand for.

Anyway, back to Robertson. A plethora of people rose to his defense, claiming that A&E officials violated his right to free speech.

Let’s clear up this foolishness right now. I’ve chided liberals in the past for not reading the Constitution, and it appears I might have to do the same with some conservatives. The Phil Robertson controversy is not and never was about a violation of his First Amendment rights.

The First Amendment says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Congress had nothing to do with the Phil Robertson brouhaha. A&E is a private company. As such, the company has every right to suspend an employee that makes comments its executives might find offensive.

Other developments followed Robertson’s suspension that are grist for many a columnist’s mill. The Cracker Barrel Company yanked “Duck Dynasty” products from its shelves, only to quickly restock them after customers complained.

It seems that Cracker Barrel’s support of the LGBT/LGBTQ/LGBTQ-add-letter-of-your-choice-here community only lasted until they heard the sound of “cha-ching” cease.

Michael Eric Dyson, a black MSNBC on-air personality, couldn’t pass on the opportunity to do a little race-baiting.

“Phil Robertson and the ‘Duck Dynasty’ is part of a majority white supremacist culture that either consciously or unconsciously incubates hatred toward those who are different.”

Everybody got that? Watch enough “Duck Dynasty” episodes and you just might find yourself inexorably drawn to join a lynch mob.

Then came the piece de resistance: A&E officials decided to unsuspend Robertson. Honchos issued this statement:

After discussion with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming "Duck Dynasty" later this spring with the entire Robertson family. "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.

Now, doesn’t that just warm your heart? Or does it make the cynic in you suspect that A&E officials had dollar signs in their eyes when they issued that statement?

GREGORY KANE, a Washington Examiner columnist, is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.
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