‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Phil Robertson Suspended ‘Indefinitely’ Over Controversial Remarks
The network announced its decision Wednesday (Dec. 18) after Robertson's remarks made headlines worldwide. In an interview with GQ that will hit stands in January, but is already available online, the 67-year-old, who says he considers the success of the show as merely a platform to spread the gospel, didn't hold back when he was asked to define what was "sinful."
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there,” he replied. “Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”
Robertson supported his views by using Scripture. “Don’t be deceived,” he added, paraphrasing from Corinthians. “Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God.”
After the comments came under fire from GLAAD and stirred up enormous negative press, A&E was quick to respond.
"We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series 'Duck Dynasty,'" the network said in a statement (quote via the Hollywood Reporter). "His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely."
In the GQ article, Robertson admits that the network has sometimes edited the show to omit some of what he calls his more "controversial" views.
CBS News reports that A&E also issued a statement on behalf of the Robertson family, saying they have no comment on their patriarch's suspension. The network stopped short of saying he is fired, but it is unclear when or if he will return to filming. According to A&E, Robertson may appear in some episodes that have already shot when the show returns for its fifth season in January.
Critics of Robertson's remarks took the announcement of his suspension as a victory. "What's clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike," said GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz, adding that Robertson's removal "has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value."
Elsewhere in the GQ piece, Robertson also said that growing up in Louisiana in the pre-civil rights era, he "never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once," he insisted, adding, "Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
According to CBS, A&E said they had received no complaints about those remarks.