The media went ballistic when A&E's "Duck Dynasty" reality star, Phil Robertson voiced his crude opinions regarding homosexuality to GQ magazine. His comments caused an uproar that led to his suspension from the show. The gay activist group GLAAD condemned his remarks, while fans, politicians and conservative commentators came to Robertson's rescue.
The backlash from Phil's suspension was predictable. Millions of Americans bought all the Duck Dynasty gear they could find and many watched the show for the first time, boosting its brand name even higher.
Many leaders threatened to boycott Cracker Barrel if they didn't put "Dynasty" products back on the shelves after pulling them due to the controversy. Cracker Barrel complied with their demands. So did A&E, who agreed to allow Phil back on the show.
The right hailed this as a major victory for their culture war, while the corporations enjoyed their record sales. But was this Duck Dynasty controversy engineered by corporations to boost profits right before the Christmas holiday?
Industry experts told The Hollywood Reporter, "Phil Robertson's anti-gay comments and subsequent suspension could wind up boosting sales of Duck Dynasty merchandise and even drive up ratings for an already red-hot show."
Duck Dynasty is the highest rated reality show in history and many of the fans are faith-driven consumers. Chris Stone states that faith-driven group of consumers represent 25 percent of the U.S. population or about 46 million people at a minimum. He estimates they have $1.8 trillion in retail buying power.
Last year, the "backlash" of Chick-Fil-A CEO's controversial remarks on homosexual marriage resulted in the record growth and profit. Millions of people turned out to support the restaurant chain in the name of free speech and traditional marriage.
Like the Chick-Fil-A controversy, Duck Dynasty resulted in increased sales and heightened brand awareness.
Was this was all a sick stunt by Disney Co. who owns both A&E and ABC News to boost sales? I hope not. But given the history of the media, it wouldn't surprise me. The ABC News video below definitely looks more like public relations than actual journalism. Do you agree?
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