Numerous online petitions and Facebook pages demanding the immediate reinstatement of Duck Dynasty's cast Phil Robertson have seen an explosive growth: 1.4 million liked "Stand with Phil Robertson" Facebook page and "Bring Back Phil Robertson" Facebook page around 978,000 likes as of Friday evening.
In addition, IStandwithPhil online petition that demands A&E Network to immediately reinstated Phil Robertson and apologize to the Faith Consumer market has gathered over 136,000 signatures within a day. The organizers says that the everyday folks are responding to the blatant violation of religious freedom and bullying.
"People are literally speaking out by the tens of thousands and joining the cause," said Chris Stone, Founder of Faith Driven Consumer, according to a statement. "The signers are making a clear statement on A&E that its actions are censoring Faith Driven Consumers and eliminating them from an entertainment choice that people of faith overwhelmingly support."
According to IStandWithPhil.com, the petition calls A&E network's treatment of the Robertson family's patriarch Phil Robertson as "intolerant, discriminatory, and punitive," for it "excludes the views of Faith Driven Consumers and effectively censors a legitimate viewpoint held by the majority of Americans."
The organizers of the petition calls for respect for the millions of viewers of the show, and demands that the network immediately reinstate Robertson and "formally apologize to him, his family, and the millions of viewers who tune in every week, stand by him, and share his worldview."
According to the statement, 46 million Americans are Faith Driven Consumers, which spends 1.75 trillion dollars annually and are primarily responsible for Duck Dynasty's record breaking cable TV records. In addition, the show's product tie-ins, including 75 licensing deals in effect and more than 1,200 Robertson-related products available in stores nationwide, are projected to bring in more than $400 million dollars in revenue by the end of 2013.
On Friday, sources close to the Duck Dynasty cast told E! Online that the Robertson family was "very serious" about ending the show if Patriarch Phil's suspension stood.
"They're an extremely tight-knit family and they're not going to let this get in the way. [Phil] is the reason for their success - they're not going to abandon him. They're also not about to let anyone threaten their religious beliefs."