Thursday, December 26, 2013

An open letter to the A&E Network management re: Robertson hiatus

An open letter to the A&E Network management.  This letter has also been sent to
Dear A&E executive staff,
Last week you decided to indefinitely suspend one of your television show stars as punishment for some remarks he made in an interview with an unrelated media outlet.  From what I've been able to gather, this week you have taken a hiatus, as a break to give you time to consider your decision.  While I'm guessing you have already made up your mind on the situation and won't budge, I would like to share with you a similar situation that occured a while back, as something for you to consider. 
About eleven years ago I was a poor college student at Purdue University.  I was also a residence hall counselor, which with it, paid my tuition, room, and board. I was brought in partway through the semester because the previous counselor was fired for something he didn't even do.  You see, he was a black openly gay man and one night he found a cohort of eighteen year old residents and their friends drinking alcohol in their room after curfew, which violated national, state, and local laws and organizational rules.  He was pretty nice to them, and got right in the middle of the whole deal and did his best to deal with the heart of the situation. However, one of the instigators later made sexual abuse allegations against him, which, along with his parents bullying, prompted his dismissal, along with the loss of his tuition, room, and board. 
In that story, which isn't even my main one, find yourself in the shoes of the residence hall staff, and Phil is the gay counselor and the LGBT vocal minorty are the instigator and his parents. 
Although the counselor lost his job, the instigator got away with something he shouldn't have.  But not for long, because later in the schoolyear I busted them all personally, and they didn't dare falsely accuse me.  The residence hall staff just kicked the can down the road, angered their counseling staff and alienated the rest of the residents.  I believe that outcome is given the term "a lose-lose-lose situation". 
 But hey, they shouldn't have hired a gay counselor to live with young boys anyway, so his loss is my gain, right?  So as a poor college student and enterprising young fellow, I was always looking for a way to make some extra money.  I collected the abandoned bicycle remains on campus and refurbished them into fully functioning bicycles that I would then sell to students.  One day while I was working on the bikes, the jealous roommate of my future wife saw the perfect opportunity to strike, so he called the campus police, who promptly came and ordered me to give them all the bicycles and accused me of stealing property.  Maybe they felt they had a right to property abandoned on campus, but if I had taken all the litter on campus and constructed an art sculpture, would they have reacted the same?  No, only if I sold it for a huge chunk of money.  They were motivated by greed.  The dean of the university then put me on probation and I lost my job as a counselor. 
The residence hall lost their Best Counselor of the semester, and someone who could best deal with the brats on the 8th floor.
The university lost all hope of ever getting any future donations from me, tuition from any of my many children, or support from me in their alumni associations or the ability to identify themselves with my future success.  I ended up attending another college for my masters degree and with always associate myself with this fine institution instead of Purdue because, although I have forgiven them for their harshness toward a poor college student, it is my perrogative as to what to do with my future loyalty.  I chose not to reward an instituion which punishes someone for cleaning up litter on their campus and upcycling it for a profit.  I don't reward stupidity, greed, and malice, which were all present in the way I was treated by everyone involved. 

 Now, find yourself in this story.  It was malicious of you to suspend Phil Robertson, and as to greed or stupidity, the coming week will only tell.  If greed be your motivation, then you will apologize to Phil and reinstate him as a full cast member, and go on to make hundreds of millions of dollars with all this free publicity. 
However, if stupidity rules the roost of A&E, then you won't apologize to Phil and every Duck Dynasty employee will be fired, you will lose your top show, millions of viewers, and on top of that, hundreds of millions of people across the world will, like me, chose not to reward stupidity.  So it doesn't bode well for your future network ratings. 
By the way, if you are hoping for Phil to apologize so you can save face, then I hate to break it to you, but that ain't gonna happen.  Everything he said was true, correct, and moral, so its not him that needs to apologize.  Something to the effect of "A&E Networks apologizes for placing Phil Robertson on hiatus.  We did not mean to demean him for exercising his right to free speech and we would like to continue using our network to bring you the latest and best in authentic programming" ought to do the trick.  

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