Friday, in the wake of the controversy over “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson’s commentary on homosexuality, the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain announced it was removing “selected [Duck Dynasty] products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests” while it evaluated the issue.
That evaluation is evidently complete, and Cracker Barrel announced Sunday, “Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores.”
Noting that its decision to pull the “Duck Dynasty” products was driven by a motivation to avoid offending customers, the restaurant learned from fans who “wrote…called and…took to social media” that it ended up doing the exact opposite. It did offend.
“When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain Duck Dynasty items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that’s just what we’ve done,” wrote Cracker Barrel in a facebook post. “We respect all individuals right to express their beliefs. We certainly did not mean to have anyone think different.”
Unclear from Cracker Barrel’s statement is how it reconciles its reversal with the earlier concern for those offended by Robertson’s remarks.
It would not have removed “Duck Dynasty” products from its shelves if it did not recognize the possibility that Robertson’s anti-gay comments (including referring to homosexuality as a “sin”) offended a portion of the market.
Yet in apologizing only to those offended by its initial decision–customers who either agreed with Robertson or at least felt he had the right to say what he did without repercussions–Cracker Barrel is seemingly shifting its concern away from the original group it wanted to protect and respect.