By Ryan Gierach, West Hollywood, California
The kerfuffle over the Duck Dynasty clan’s patriarch and his anti-gay and racially-charged statements to GQ magazine late last year may have died down, but so, too, has interest in the Bible thumping Louisiana duck merchandisers and Christian proselytizers.
In December, word broke that Phil Robertson, the eldest of the “Dynasty,” said in an interview about homosexuality and promiscuousness, “Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong… Sin becomes fine. 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.”
He dug his hole a bit deeper when he said that while growing up in pre-civil-rights-era Louisiana, “I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. 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.”
The reaction from the gay community came swiftly from Wilson Cruz, a West Hollywood resident who acts as spokesperson for GLAAD. “Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.”
Those words, and similar sentiment expressed by other groups, compelled A&E Network to suspend the show indefinitely. Conservatives, Christians and most everybody else in the middle or south of the country howled, and soon A&E switched its tune and invited the family back aboard for the 2014 season.
Well, it’s time to see what has happened as a result of the controversy. Did Mr. Robertson and family score big, endearing themselves to the conservative Christian community?
Not exactly. In fact, it’s a good thing they have a thriving duck merchandising business, because apparently their time as stars of screen and stage are running short.
Promoters initially announced in late March that members of the Robertson family would appear at a show titled “Faith, Family & Ducks” at an 11,000-seat arena in Springfield, Mo. Tickets were only $37, $50 or $58, and their adoring fans could enjoy hear the bayou millionaires talk about “living the American dream,” their family values and listen to a little music.”
Yesterday, though, the April 27 event has been canceled due to low ticket sales.
The lack of interest in the Duck Dynasty road show dovetails with massive ratings decreases for their TV show; the season started sluggish and fizzled, so by the time of the season five finale show dropped 30 points off last year’s.