A&E put itself between a “Duck” and a hard place. And having backtracked from its temporary lack of quack, let the public-relations scrambling begin.
The network might have acted precipitously in suspending Phil Robertson for his inflammatory remarks regarding gays (and equally insensitive ones about African-Americans in the Jim Crow-era South), but it clearly didn’t have an end game in mind. And once the network demonstrated that it was displeased with Robertson’s statements, unless it was truly willing to strangle its golden goose, there was really nowhere to go from there.
So the network issued a mealy-mouthed statement Friday, promising to run a public-service campaign about tolerance and inclusiveness. One suspects the network will also be less eager to arrange interview opportunities for Robertson, which of course won’t prevent him from going out and speaking his mind, especially now that he’s a hero to many conservatives.
After all, if this episode proves anything, it’s that faced with the possibility of derailing its top-rated series, the channel has webbed feet of clay.
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