Fox News media reporter Howard Kurtz blasted A&E’s handling of the “Duck Dynasty” saga over the past couple weeks, calling the network’s stunning reversal “a classic case of corporate spinelessness.”
Kurtz spoke with Fox’s Jamie Colby on Monday about the Dec. 27 reinstatement of “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson following his Dec. 18 suspension for comments about homosexuality made during a GQ interview. The reporter laughed about the “great relish” with which the media covered the controversy and backlash, “especially during a slow holiday period.”
But he became critical when Colby asked whether A&E had “bowed to pressure” following massive protests against the suspension, which many felt was gratuitous and disrespectful to traditional religious beliefs.
“I don’t think there’s any question about it,” Kurtz claimed. “To do a 180 because, let’s face it, this is the most lucrative show on that network — everybody’s now heard of ‘Duck Dynasty’ — and just to have a fig leaf about, ‘Well, he’s not going to do it again and we’ll put out some PSAs about tolerance’ — it looks like a classic case of corporate spinelessness.”
Kurtz speculated that A&E likely regrets the drama that unfolded over the last two weeks.
“I think A&E probably would’ve liked to have done without this firestorm,” he claimed, “because it really has pulled off the rare feat of ticking off both sides — one side with the suspension, the other side with the non-suspension.”
But that doesn’t mean A&E’s profit margin will take a hit. “Once this blows over and the show comes back in mid-January, it’s going to do a huge number,” he predicted. “Because you had millions of Americans who weren’t sure what ‘Duck Dynasty’ was. Everybody knows now.”
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