Anti-gay comments by the star of the A&E television show, Duck Dynasty, and an impasse between the cast and the network doesn’t seem to be enough to shoot down the ultra-popular reality show.
Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the family was hit with an “indefinite” suspension on Dec. 18 after anti-gay comments appeared in a magazine interview. His family later reacted by throwing their support behind Robertson – and his right to free speech.
“After discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family,” the channel said in a statement.
A&E said it could use “this moment” to broadcast public service announcements “promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people.”
“We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article,” the statement continued, “and reiterate that they are not views we hold. But ‘Duck Dynasty’ is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A+E Networks also feel strongly about.”
So far, the Robertson family has not responded to the announcement.
“We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right,” the family said in a Dec. 19 statement posted on their Duck Commander website.
“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.”
The family, which hails from Louisiana, also thanked fans for their “prayers and support.”
The brouhaha stemmed from an article that appeared in GQ magazine with his views on homosexuality, which are, um, vividly descriptive.
“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
GQ also asked Robertson what he considers “sinful.”
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says, then paraphrasing Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. 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. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
Still, the Chicago Tribune reported that Robertson made similar homophobic comments in a religious speech in 2010.
Which further goes to show, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.
h/t CNN, Photo Duck Commander