I have talked before about why A&E was right to suspend Robertson, the Duck Dynasty patriarch who made comments about the homosexual and race communities. Ever since then, social media and newsrooms alike have been buzzing with whether or not he should have been removed from the show and where the show will go from here. But what would have happened if A&E didn’t suspend Robertson? How would the reaction be different?
When news first broke of this entire situation, the news was of the suspension – not Robertson’s interview comments directly. In fact, the interview itself never made major headlines. Not till A&E reacted to it, that is. If you think about what could have happened if the interview had been given time to come to national attention, you will begin to see why A&E did act as they did and why they were only protecting their own business interests.
We have seen before what happens when a public figure makes unwelcome comments. Paula Deen is the perfect example that no network or star wants to relive. Deen, when news arose that she had used the N-word, lost nearly all of her sponsors and her show on the Food Network over night. Ignoring the fact that very few people defended her and protested the Food Network’s actions (the opposite of what is happening with Robertson), you can see why A&E acted so quickly.
A&E has to keep their sponsors or none of their shows will be on the air. Duck Dynasty, easily their most popular show, would be off the air regardless of how the family or their fans felt. Any network needs sponsors and funding to survive. If news broke of the interview comments by Robertson on its own, you can bet sponsors would drop from the show and network like flies.
Instead of being upset with the network over the suspension, be grateful they were on top of things and did act as quickly as they did. If they didn’t, the entire family could have gotten much worse than a suspension – a cancellation notice.
Phil Robertson will almost certainly be back on Duck Dynasty as soon as the conversation of this entire situation calms down. The sooner we all stop talking about it, the sooner that can happen. A&E is even running a marathon this entire week, they definitely aren’t ready to throw the show out of the proverbial window.