Southern restaurant and country store chain Cracker Barrel has taken a public stand in the Duck Dynasty controversy that has swiftly turned into a culture war.
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The company has removed “selected products” that “might offend” some diners from shelves days after cast member Phil Robertson’s anti-gay comments in a GQ magazine interview hit the internet, resulting in his suspension from the A&E reality hit.
On Saturday, the comfort food chain posted the following statement on its Facebook page:
Cracker Barrel’s mission is Pleasing People. We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture.
We continue to offer Duck Commander products in our stores.
We removed selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests while we evaluate the situation.
We continually evaluate the products we offer and will continue to do so.
There’s been no word from the company as to exactly which products were deemed offensive, but this post will be updated if and when a spokesperson responds. On the Cracker Barrel website, almost every Duck Dynasty product is currently being sold at a discount.
The restaurant is the first major retailer to announce any action at all since Robertson’s interview went public. It represents a small slice of a merchandise empire that saw sales of $400 million this year.
The biggest player in Duck Dynasty’s brand bonanza is unsurprisingly Walmart, which accounts for about half that annual $400 million haul. The world’s largest retailer has yet to make any statement on Phil Robertson’s comments or the future of Duck Dynasty products in its stores.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based big box giant acted quickly following TV chef Paula Deen’s racism allegations earlier this year, removing her cookware from its stores (it can still be purchased online, it appears).
In some Walmarts, mainly in the south, entire aisles are devoted to the bearded Robertson clan, including camouflage bedding, kids’ pajamas and prayer devotionals. At Walmart’s annual shareholder meeting this past summer, the retailer announced its Duck Dynasty t-shirts, adorned with the faces of Phil and his family, were its bestselling products across both men’s and women’s apparel.
On Saturday evening, Cracker Barrel’s decision had already resulted in Twitter uproar among Duck Dynasty’s fans, many of whom have also threatened to boycott A&E over Robertson’s firing.
“I say boycott Cracker Barrel if you still believe in Freedom of Speech and the Bible,” wrote one user, a self-proclaimed lover of Jesus from Tennessee.
#CrackerBarrel know how you feel about their support of the LGBT agenda,” wrote a Virginia resident with a reference to God in his profile, linking to a customer feedback form.
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