How 'Duck Dynasty' Will Survive (and Thrive) Post-Phil Robertson Scandal
But are "Duck Dynasty's" days numbered in the wake of the patriarch's polarizing comments on gays and African Americans?
Far from it.
"This controversy will quickly pass and do no damage to the brand," says David E. Johnson, CEO of the PR and branding agency Strategic Vision LLC. "The reason is that the controversy reinforced the brand image. The brand image of Robertson and 'Duck Dynasty' is that they speak their minds and live their lives as they believe best. His comments reinforced that image."
Indeed, the mobilization of die-hard "Duck" aficionados may only make the hit reality series even bigger when it returns to the airwaves on Jan. 15. But based on a survey of experts, A&E's swift, decisive move to suspend Robertson was the right one.
"I'm sure the A&E executives are sitting around a table going, 'We don't want another Paula Deen moment … We don't want to lose one of our biggest talents, but we're not going to put up with this kind of speech,'" crisis-PR strategist Howard Bragman tells "omg! Insider."
"This is not the kind of controversy they want on this show that's supposed to be about good, God-fearing, hard-working, likeable sorts of folks," adds Robert Thompson, professor of television and pop culture at Syracuse University.
The experts recommend that Robertson stick to the celebrity image-rehab blueprint in the coming weeks.
"I'd suggest making a humble admission of crossing a line publicly, which he has done, and a sincere apology to those he offended," says Eric Schiffer, chairman of Reputation Management Consultants. After that, he suggests Robertson sit down for "a one-on-one interview with a trusted host, preferably from the gay and lesbian community, or someone that is popular amongst the LGBT community."
But Johnson counters: "At this point, he should say and do nothing else. Rather, he should let his defenders argue his case. In a month or so, he should grant an interview — I would recommend Oprah — and address the controversy and answer all the questions that might be asked."