'Duck Dynasty': Petition to Reinstate Phil Robertson Reaches Goal of 250,000 Signatures
A petition to end Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson's indefinite suspension following anti-gay comments he made in a recent interview reached its goal of 250,000 signatures early Friday morning, roughly one week after the petition was created.
Faith Driven Consumer's "IStandWithPhil" petition had 252,918 signatures as of early Friday morning. The Christian advocacy group is demanding that Duck Dynasty network A&E reinstate Robertson, who was placed on indefinite suspension after he expressed his views about homosexuality and race relations to GQ in its January issue. The organization also asks that the network issue a formal apology to Robertson's family and his fans.
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Its "IStandWithPhil" website was briefly flagged on Twitter, prohibiting users from posting messages containing links to the page, but access was restored late on Monday, shortly after Faith Driven Consumer complained about the block, and a Twitter spokesperson explained that an outside organization that tracks spam sources had mistakenly flagged the URL.
"We have restored access and apologize for the error," the spokesperson said.
In GQ, Robertson uses lewd imagery to discuss why he doesn't understand homosexuality, which he goes on to call a sin and compares it to bestiality.
"It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus," Robertson says. "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."
Robertson is asked what he finds sinful. His answer: "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."
Robertson has also gotten attention for his remarks that he never saw any mistreatment of black people while he was growing up in pre-civil-rights-era Louisiana.
"I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once," Robertson told GQ. "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."
Robertson has since defended his comments, saying he "will not give or back off from my path," and his family has said they cannot imagine the show going forward without their patriarch.
The petition argues that A&E's treatment was "intolerant, discriminatory and punitive" and claims Roberson's comments "are simply reflective of a Biblical view of sexuality, marriage, and family -- a view that has stood the test of time for thousands of years and continues to be held by the majority of Americans and today’s world as a whole."
The petition goes on to insist that Robertson not be discriminated against for expressing his views.
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"The notion that a free-thinking American should be discriminated against simply for expressing a perspective that is in conflict with another is patently un-American and flies in the face of true tolerance and civility," the petition states. "A&E's position … excludes the views of Faith Driven Consumers and effectively censors a legitimate viewpoint held by the majority of Americans."
"Your rash, discriminatory and unfair treatment toward Mr. Robertson -- a recognized symbol of the faith community -- is a slap in the face to Faith Driven Consumers and everyday Americans alike," the letter addressed to A&E adds.
The petition closes by stating that if A&E doesn't respect the views of the 46 million Faith Driven Consumers in the U.S., they will boycott A&E and support brands that stick with the show and the Robertson family.
Meanwhile, a petition on Change.org entitled "A&E Network: Bring Phil Robertson back!" has 118.358 signatures, more than 31,000 short of its goal. A Facebook page called "Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back on Duck Dynasty" has gotten 1.79 million likes, while another called "Boycott A&E and Support Phil Robertson" has 15,300 likes.