While Twitter can sometimes not be an accurate indicator of what American really thinks (given that Justin Bieber trends there all the time and he is rarely ever a TV ratings draw), it does seem that there is a groundswell of support behind the movement online for “Duck Dynasty” and its now-controversial star Phil Robertson.
In the first full week after his comments about homosexuality (which are hardly revelatory to those who know him) were made public in GQ magazine, Nielsen SoundScan numbers (per Variety) show that their holiday disc “Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas” sold for the week of December 22 132,000 copies. It and Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped In Red” are the two most-popular holiday releases this year, and “Duck Dynasty” this week trailed only Beyonce, Garth Brooks, and One Direction on the chart at #4. (Clarkson was #5 on the list.)
One factor that you do have to consider here is that at Christmastime, album sales generally increase naturally, especially for people looking to get last-minute Christmas music for a party. Even when you consider this information, though, the sheer amount of sales for an album that has already been out many weeks proves that there are still many diehard “Duck Dynasty” fans not offended and unconcerned by the backlash. It’s either that or they just really love the sound of the Robertsons’ voices.
The bigger test for the Robertsons’ post-GQ controversy is going to come on January 15, when season 5 premieres on A&E with new episodes that will feature Phil. Also, it will be interesting to see what the publicity lead-out for the new episodes will be. The Robertson family was at one point a staple of the late-night and morning talk-show circuit, but if they are to appear now, they will surely be bombarded with questions that they may or may not be interested in answering.
One of Phil’s most-vocal critics to come out this week was Jesse Jackson, who declared that his comments about race in the south were more offensive than the driver of the bus that Rosa Parks famously rode on.