By early evening on Friday, December 27, the A&E cable network reversed its suspension of Duck Dynasty family patriarch Phil Robertson, reinstating him to his reality TV show. A&E made this decision just ahead of a growing grassroots revolt aimed against the network.
Several high-profile efforts to show support for the Robertson clan had been undertaken, including a petition, an effort to organize a “Chick-Phil-A Day” for the family, and a write-in campaign replete with rubber ducks–all aimed at getting A&E to reverse its decision to suspend poppa Phil from the show.
The earliest effort out of the gate was a petition hosted by a group called Faith Driven Consumers. The petition, #IStandWithPhil, urged A&E to end its “intolerant, discriminatory, and punitive treatment of Mr. Phil Robertson.” By Friday evening, the petition had garnered over 260,000 Duck Dynasty fan signatures.
Not to be outdone, some of Robertson’s fans were trying to organize a “Chick-Phil-A Day” to rouse Duck Dynasty fans to go to Chick-Fil-A restaurants on Tuesday, January 21 to show support for their favorite Louisiana family. The effort was based on a Facebook page which received over 30,000 “likes” in a few short days.
Many will remember the wave of support that swept the nation in 2012 for the restaurant chain when Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy came out against same-sex marriage.
A third major effort to come to the Robertson’s support was a write-in campaign that urged fans to send little rubber ducks to the A&E offices.
Thus, by Friday, thousands of tiny rubber ducks had flooded in to the network’s New York offices. The New York Daily News reports that at least one box of 1,500 rubber ducks were delivered to A&E CEO Nancy Dubuc on December 21, and more are on the way.
Plainly, A&E was hearing loud and clear from Duck Dynasty fans, with far more voices for the family patriarch than in opposition. A&E got out from under a tsunami of grassroots complaints by reversing its decision to suspend Phil Robertson.