If the ratings for Duck Dynasty’s first episode of the season are any indication of things to come then it appears that patriarch Phil Robertson’s racist and anti-gay remarks made in GQ last year might have had an effect after all.
The A & E series launched its fifth season on Wednesday night and saw a significant decline in viewership with only 8.5 million viewers tuning in. This number is down a staggering 28 percent from the season four debut (which had 12 million viewers).
You might recall that Robertson, in the now famous magazine interview, went on an anti-gay rant in which he described homosexuals as “sinful” and compared them to “drunks and terrorists”. In that same article he went on to say that black people were happier during the pre-civil rights era.
On homosexuality Robertson had this to say:
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine," he later added. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
As for black people, pre civil rights:
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person," Robertson is quoted in GQ. "Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
Also noteworthy within the ratings decline was a sharp drop in key demographics of the show’s audience, including adults 18-49, which were down 33 percent and averaged 4.2 million viewers.
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