Douglas County Sheriff will not cooperate with A&E going forward

The Duckathon continues through the weekend, showing no signs of slowing down. In the wake of A&E’s somewhat suicidal business decision (more on that below), another voice has weighed in on the situation. The Sheriff of Douglas County – home to the Duck Dynasty crew – is no longer interested in doing any business with the network.

The suspension of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson by the A&E Network after making controversial remarks in GQ magazine regarding homosexuality has been called a business decision. But now Douglas County Sheriff Phil Miller is making a business decision of his own.

Miller announced on his personal Facebook page Friday night that A&E would no longer be welcomed to film or produce any of its programs or series with the help of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office or its facilities…

“I know it will not matter to A&E, but it will make me feel better. A&E has produced more than a half dozen programs with the assistance of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. They will not do any more with my assistance while I am sheriff. It is time for someone other than Hollywood and the news media to stand up for what is right!”

I’m not sure if it “won’t matter” to A&E that the Sheriff’s department will no longer cooperate with them. Assuming the show continues at all, reality series rely on that full range of “local flavor” to bring their stories to life. In the case of this show, just as with many other such series like Moonshiners, local law enforcement can be a part of that tapestry. It may not shut down production entirely, but it certainly doesn’t help. (And that’s not even going into questions about getting film permits or how much of a blind eye the law will turn to disruptions caused during filming, etc.)

From a broader perspective, a few offerings from Rick Moran at the American Thinker.

I don’t think we’ve seen this kind of backlash against the coercive imposition of public speech codes before. The opposition goes far beyond the evangelical community to become an issue with many other Christian churches.

Beyond the religious aspect, there is a cultural facet to the controversy. The GQ “profile” of Robertson was a hit piece – smarmy, snarky, and subtly dismissive. Many Americans are equally perturbed by the elitist and superior attitude found in the GQ article – holding Robertson out to be a typical ignorant red neck not worthy of being taken seriously by the smart folks in coastal America.

Hard to say what will become of this controversy. GLAAD is raising money hand over fist and is suffering no ill effects for its PC policing of speech. Perhaps the flap has awoken middle America and they will now begin to fight back against the stifling of free speech and freedom of religion that goes along with it.

On a more general note, I have to wonder what A&E is thinking about their decision at this point. They’ve surely noticed that their ratings – particularly for their last weekend marathon – have been down since this situation blew up. Curiously, I was seeing some of the most liberal people on Twitter – particularly ones who like to refer to Robertson as “hateful, homophobic, bigoted” etc. – crowing over the ratings drop. Seriously? They seem to think that a drop in viewers must reflect some sort of judgement by the audience rejecting Robertson’s opinions.

That’s the part which is so puzzling to me, and it’s something I believe A&E should have taken into account before acting. While I’m not sure there are any measurable metrics to check on this, I don’t think the people complaining about Robertson are Duck Dynasty’s target demographic which provided their record breaking ratings. Do you really imagine that there is an army of Pajama Boys out there, snuggling up in their Slankets with a cup of cocoa to binge watch a season of Duck Dynasty? To the contrary, if the ratings are falling I would imagine that it’s Robertson’s defenders turning off A&E in droves.

Either way, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department decision is only the latest in a string of bad press stories for A&E. This looks like short sighted, poor planning on their part, and it will likely hit them hardest over the long run right where it hurts the most… in the wallet. But hey, that’s just capitalism in action, folks.

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