Probably not. RNATB pointed out in the SRIOTD thread that they brought back Dog the Bounty Hunter after the outrage over his racist girlfriend died down.
I can’t help but believe that A&E’s actions are guided almost entirely by what they think will net them the most money and the chunk of their target demographic that would be turned off by those comments is far larger than the brain-dead chunk repped by Palin and Co.
A&E is trying to move the Overton window. Good. It shouldn’t be acceptable to spew homosexual crap like that. People who say things like that should get shunned by popular media. Unfortunately, this has about as much chance of sticking as, I dunno, Dr. Oz finally admitting that backing pseudoscientific claptrap is hurting people and not worth the boon it is to his career.
I don’t find those comments to be particularly surprising. The entire Robertson family is devoutly religious, and apparently belong to a denomination that believes homosexuality is sinful. Phil said essentially that gay people can’t go to Heaven. He does not call for violence or discrimination against gay people…he just says he believes it to be sinful.
He also made some comments about racial relations in the Jim Crow era, based on his experiences growing up in Louisiana.
I happen to disagree with his opinions on both issues, but he has every right to express those opinions. And A&E has every right to decide whether they wish to have him appear on their network. Perhaps both sides would be happier if the show were to move to another network.
I recall reading earlier stories the Phil Robertson in particular has been at odds with A&E over how religious the show should be. He had fought for the inclusion of the dinner prayer at the end of the episode and gun shooting that occurs frequently.
I’m not gay, but I’m not religious either. As an atheist his attitude about religion doesn’t come off as overly judgmental to me. He is witnessing, basically. He isn’t saying anything that the Pope doesn’t believe. The Pope isn’t shunned by society, nor should he be.
I do find the show great to watch, especially as a family. It’s nice to have a good role model family that enjoys the outdoors and hunting for my daughter to watch. It’s lead to some good conversations about gutting deer and shooting turkeys for instance. It would be a shame to lose this show just because of some comments.
I’d bet A&E is waiting to see how it plays out. If the controversy builds - or if Robertson doubles down - then he’ll be gone for good. If not, he’ll do a bit of an apology tour and be back on the air.
Historically, I’m pretty bad at predicting these things, but he doesn’t seem the sort to apologize. (I don’t watch the show). He’s already made a shitload of money and I’m pretty sure the show could feasibly be moved to another network. Standing firm would just make him more popular with his fans.
I, for one, am shocked that a religiously conservative redneck, appearing in a show about a family of religiously conservative rednecks, would say exactly the kind of thing you’d expect a religiously conservative redneck to say.
A&E can’t have not expected this to happen at some point.
Each of us has every right to have our own opinion on what he has said and to act (with the bounds of the law) as we see fit on that opinion.
A&E has every right to act as they see fit in regards to the show, which they own and is aired on their privately owned network. Just the same as you or I have the right to ask someone to leave if they offend us in our own living room.
This is not a “Freedom of Speech” issue.
It is, however, a “Freedom of Association” issue.
Some more background on what Phil calls spiritual warfare between the Robertson family and the producers of the show.
He’s irked that they edited out “in Jesus’ name” during their prayers closing the episodes and added bleeps to imply people were swearing when they weren’t.
I’m finding it hard to predict how this will sort itself out. I don’t see Phil apologizing anytime soon. This wasn’t a slip. This is him wanting to shout from the rooftops what he believes and I don’t think he’ll back down.
Perhaps they’ll end up running the show on another network and get into a situation where the family has more creative control. That’ll be interesting to say the least.