LOS ANGELES (AP) — A&E landed in the middle of America’s culture wars when “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson sounded off on gays and the Bible. The channel quickly found there was no safe ground.
It was pilloried for allowing a man who equated gays with hell-bound sinners like adulterers to have a national TV stage. Then, it was excoriated for giving him the hook.
With A&E’s decision Friday to bring Robertson back to its most-watched show, it remains to be seen if it can mend fences with both sides — or at least with those viewers who have opposing views.
The channel’s interest is in ratings and revenue, not refereeing social discord.
Will those who called for an A&E boycott unless Robertson returned be satisfied? Will “Duck Dynasty” fans who enjoy the Louisiana duck call-making family but were offended by Robertson’s comments watch again?
The family itself, which threatened to withdraw if Phil wasn’t welcomed back, didn’t rush out with its own make-nice reaction Friday. The gay right group GLAAD, which slammed Robertson’s comments to GQ magazine, issued a critical statement despite A&E’s vague allusion to the support of “numerous advocacy groups” for its reversal.