The group behind the IStandWithPhil.com petition drive in support of "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson says that although Twitter unblocked links to the petition, the social media giant has not offered a direct apology for what happened.
"While we have not yet received a response or apology directly from Twitter, the social networking site clearly heard from nearly 250,000 Faith Driven Consumers who, in recent days, have joined the surging IStandWithPhil.com petition drive calling for Phil Robertson's reinstatement to A&E's #1 cable show Duck Dynasty," said Faith Driven Consumer spokesman Matthew Faraci.
"Consequently, Twitter responded by unblocking posts containing IStandWithPhil.com. There are 46 million Faith Driven Consumers in America today who spend 1.75 trillion dollars annually. This rapidly emerging and powerful market segment will continue to stand together in a call for tolerance and respect for the faith perspective in America's rich rainbow of diversity."
As of Friday morning, over 253,000 people have signed the petition urging the network to restore Robertson to "Duck Dynasty," surpassing the goal of 250,000 signatures. The online campaign criticizes A&E's "intolerant, discriminatory, and punitive treatment" of the "Duck Dynasty" star who was suspended due to comments he made on homosexuality in GQ Magazine's January issue.
"IStandWithPhil.com calls for respect for the millions of viewers of the show, and demands that the network immediately reinstate Mr. 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,'" the petition continues.
It acknowledges that the LGBT community may be offended by Robertson's viewpoint that homosexuality is a sin, but argues that his suspension "is a slap in the face to Faith Driven Consumers and everyday Americans alike."
Earlier this week, links to the petition on Twitter were flagged as "spam" and blocked. Some users claimed the social media giant was intentionally blocking the links.
After restoring the links, Twitter stated, "The URL IStandWithPhil.com was mistakenly flagged as spam tonight, by an outside organization that tracks spam sources. We have restored access and apologize for the error."
Meanwhile, Robertson's supporters continue finding new ways to express their support for the reality show star, and have been ordering rubber ducks to send to A&E Network in protest of his suspension.
Thousands of ducks have already been ordered, revealed president and founder of Faith2Action Janet Porter in an interview with The Christian Post on Thursday, though an exact number was not available.
"I can't believe it," Porter said about the popularity of the campaign, which was launched the week of Christmas. "But people feel strongly about this, and this is a tangible way they can stand for freedom."
The ducks are to be sent to Nancy Dubuc, president and CEO of A&E Networks, with each displaying the name, city and state of the person who ordered one, along with the message "We cry fowl-Reinstate Phil!"