Robertson Family Issue Statement Over Patriarch’s ‘Duck Dynasty’ Suspension
The 67-year-old patriarch of the Robertson family -- the stars of the enormously popular reality show on A&E -- was suspended form the show on Wednesday (Dec. 18), after comments he made about homosexuals and African Americans in an upcoming issue of GQ went viral.
Robertson -- who tells the magazine that he sees the success of the show as a platform to spread the gospel -- didn't hold back when asked to define what he considers "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.”
Elsewhere in the interview, he said that while growing up in pre-civil rights era Louisiana, 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.”
A&E responded by announcing Robertson had been placed on "indefinite hiatus" from filming, which touched off an online petition to reinstate him from fans who felt his rights had been violated.
In their first official public statement since the controversy, the rest of the Robertson clan appear to agree. Their statement reads:
We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E's decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Phil would never incite or encourage hate.We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right.We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family.
Season 5 of the hit reality program is set to premiere on Jan. 15. According to A&E, Phil Robertson might appear in some of the episodes that have already filmed. It is unclear whether or not the rest of the Robertson family intend to return to shooting.