When Phil Robertson, patriarch of the family behind hit reality show “Duck Dynasty,” came under fire last year, millions of fans and conservative Christians rushed to his defense. In a GQ interview, Robertson expressed a biblical view of homosexuality that ultimately led to A&E suspending him from the program.
Thanks to an exceptionally strong social media campaign, however, the cable network ultimately reversed its decision. Along with the Western Center for Journalism, several other groups established Facebook pages and petitions designed to garner support for the Robertson clan.
Since the controversy has died down, however, at least one of the more popular pages seems to be trying to capitalize on its more than 1.5 million followers by posting links to content that Robertson would likely condemn. (Warning: Some content may be objectionable to sensitive viewers.)
The Facebook page, “Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back On Duck Dynasty,” is still heavily populated; however, the vast majority of the comments it now receives are expressions of confusion and disappointment. In the span of one day, three separate pornographic links featuring suggestive photographs were plastered on the page. Additionally, articles such as “9 Young Celebrities Who Wear Next To Nothing” and a compilation of the 10 “Hottest Irish-American Celebrities” are prominently posted on the page.
Responses are fairly unanimous, with commenters suggesting the page’s administrators should – at the very least – remove any implied association with Phil Robertson.
“What does this have to do with Phil Robertson?” one commenter wondered. Another suggested administrators “change the name of this page and take Phils [sic] face off because this is no longer about Phil Robetson.”
Early supporters of the page are now expressing their outrage, as one woman declared such content “is not the type of thing we signed up for when we joined this group.”
In addition to sexualized content, the page also features links to violent, disturbing, and profane articles with photographs depicting much of the objectionable material.
The Western Center for Journalism reached out to the page’s administrators in an attempt to report their motivation for the shift in content. As of this writing, no one has responded to our requests.
Since each of the links goes to a specific website, it appears this is an opportunistic method to drive traffic to an unrelated page by hijacking those followers who signed up to support Robertson. It is becoming clear, however, that a multitude of users are outraged at the perceived betrayal. While it is impossible to tell whether the page was initially established as a ruse to gain followers, it seems evident that the current goals of its administration have little to do with the Duck Dynasty controversy.
–B. Christopher Agee
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Photo Credit: geopungo (Creative Commons)