E! online is reporting that as of Thursday an online petition for A & E to reinstate Phil Robertson on the hit show was just shy of its goal of gathering 250,000 signatures. Robertson was suspended over controversial remarks he made about gays and black people in a magazine interview, and has stood by his statements.
His family, who costar with him in the reality show about their lives, have rallied around their patriarch, as have those who took Cracker Barrel to task for removing “Duck Dynasty” merchandise from its shelves. The restaurant chain quickly reversed its decision after complaints.
The #IStandWithPhil petition is written in the form of a letter to A & E and states that “Mr. Robertson’s comments in GQ Magazine 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 asks that the network “immediately reinstate Mr. Robertson to Duck Dynasty, and to formally apologize to him, his family, and the millions of viewers who tune in every week, stand by him, and share his worldview.”
Twitter blocked the #IStandWithPhil hashtag after it was deemed as containing spam. The site later apologized and removed the block.
Meanwhile, another of Robertson’s most vocal supporters may not have totally known what she was supporting. Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has admitted that she didn’t actually read the GQ magazine interview containing the remarks.
Politico reported that when pressed during an appearance on Fox News about the Robertson article, Palin said “I haven’t read the article. I don’t know exactly how he said it.”
Rev. Jesse Jackson has reportedly demanded a meeting with A & E after stating that Robertson’s comments about African Americans on the story were “more offensive” than the actions of bus driver who ordered Rosa Parks to move to the back of the bus in 1955. That event was galvanizing to the Civil Rights Movement.
“At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law,” Jackson said. “Robertson’s statements were uttered freely and openly without cover of the law, within a context of what he seemed to believe was ‘white privilege.’”
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