Patriarch off 'Duck Dynasty' after gay comments

Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely.
Associated Press
Dec 19, 2013

"Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson — suspended from the series indefinitely after making disparaging remarks about gays — is getting some support from key followers.

Sarah Palin posted a picture on her Facebook page of her with the reality show clan with the message, "Free Speech is an endangered species." And Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also lamented the suspension on free speech terms.

"It's a messed-up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended," said the governor in a statement Thursday (the show is filmed in his state.

A&E announced Wednesday what it called a "hiatus" for Robertson, 67, after he disparaged gays in the January edition of GQ magazine. He also said that, growing up in Louisiana before the Civil Rights movement, he never saw mistreatment of blacks.

In a statement, A&E said it was extremely disappointed to see Robertson's anti-gay remarks, which it said were based on his personal beliefs and do not reflect those of A&E Networks or the show. A&E Networks, a joint venture of The Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp., called itself a supporter of the lesbian and gay community.

The channel's move was lauded by the gay and lesbian media advocacy group GLAAD, which had quickly condemned Robertson's comments.

"What's clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike," said GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz. Robertson's removal "has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value."

Robertson and his extended family became wealthy manufacturing duck calls and were turned into TV and pop culture stars by "Duck Dynasty," which has set cable ratings records for a non-fiction series. Several family members appeared in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving parade.

In his GQ interview, Robertson was asked his definition of sinful behavior.

"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there," such as bestiality, he said.

GQ said he then paraphrases a biblical reference: "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."

Robertson and his family had no comment on his hiatus, A&E said on their behalf. He may be in some previously taped scenes when the show returns Jan. 15 for its fifth season, a network spokesman said.

Robertson did respond to initial criticism of his GQ remarks.

"I myself am a product of the '60s" who indulged in sex and drugs until hitting bottom and accepting Jesus as his savior, he said in a statement. Although his mission is to teach people that men and women are meant to be together, Robertson said he "would never treat anyone with disrespect" because they are different.

In the interview, he also said that in his Louisiana youth he picked cotton with African-Americans and never saw "the mistreatment of any black person. Not once."

"We're going across the field.... They're singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, 'I tell you what: These doggone white people' — not a word!" Robertson told the magazine.

A&E said it had received no complaints about those remarks.

 

Comments

The Big Dog's back

Liberal hypocrisy? Last I knew he wasn't jailed for saying anything.

Nemesis

Hypocrisy doesn't require jailing.

The leftist definition of diversity: everybody looks different but thinks the same.

John Harville

jBut it was okay to get rid of Martin Bashir because he called Sarah Palin an idiot after she compared the China debt of Bush/GOP to the slavery of the Civil War.

I think there is a big slice of hypocrisy for you thinkagain.

pntbutterandjelly

You can't be serious with those statements. Are you??? Are you too to say that EVERYONE must be verbally chastised and publically held accountable for their sins as no perfect human exists? Or...are you saying that some sins are, in God's eyes, greater than others? Or are you saying you and you alone hold the patent to God's truth and KNOW that one sin is greater than another? You not only leave me stunned but also confused with dialogue such as you expounded. Are you freakin' serious, delirious, on medication or belong to the cult known as I.G.N.O.R.A.N.T.I.S.B.L.I.S.S.? You really need to re-read the Holy Scriptures before you make further comments. Please?

SamAdams

Robertson was asked his views by an interviewer. He expressed them. And he's PUNISHED for that? He merely exercised his right to free speech which, in this case, also involves his right to freedom of religion.

Never once did Robertson suggest that homosexuals be rounded up and separated from society or worse. He didn't say homosexuals should be criminally punished or that they should voluntarily just STAY in the closet. What he SAID was that a) he doesn't get it (most straight people DON'T, not really), and that b) he thinks it's a sin (many religions do).

When we start being punished for a mere viewpoint, it's well beyond the beginning of the end for freedom! And while A&E surely has the right to control what is broadcast on its own network, that's not where this happened. Shame on A&E for succumbing to the political correctness police, and shame on those who are right there WITH A&E screaming for Robertson's head.

For the record: I've not seen Duck Dynasty, and don't know whether I'm all that interested in ever seeing it. I'm not exactly a religious fundamentalist. And the nearest and dearest friend I've ever had is a gay man. I STILL think every last hypocrite demanding diversity and tolerance and yet castigating Mr. Robertson are the people who are TRULY exhibiting a shameful and harmful attitude!

The Big Dog's back

It's not a case of "free" speech. A&E chose a path. Don't like it, don't watch it.

Señor Clown

People seem to be missing that point. Your may have the right to free speech, but others have the right to hold the things you say against you. Just because you're free to say it doesn't mean anyone has to like it. And when a public figure says things in an interview that might not go over well with their employer, you've got to expect that they might be fired for it.

oheaglefl

Hey, El Presidente says things all the time that are lies, why isn't he fired for it. I'm real sure most doesn't go over well with his employers (that would be us)

John Harville

is that how he won two elections?

mikesee

No. He won it on the backs of the entitlement receivers.

John Harville

entitlement receivers.... all of us who have paid SS taxes for years? Medicare taxes for years? Income taxes for years?
Of course you don't mean the upper level incomes who have paid very little for years but still reap benefits - like Paul Ryan who went to college on his dead father's SS although his family was worth more than $50 million.

Nemesis

No, all those on food stamps with Obama phones who never paid a dime in income taxes.

Licorice Schtick

You seem to think the First Amendment is suspended when you walk through your employer's door.

John Harville

Try it.... walk into your boss - confront him in front of others - and say "You GC SOB. You're a whoremonger and you screw around on your wife with anything with a front-loading slit."
Let's see how long you keep your job?
Or how about "hell no I ain't doin' that fckin' job. Kiss my rosy red assss"
Or try this. Go to your favorite bar and talk where others can hear about what a jackassss you boss is and that he's stealing from the company."
Do it... I triple dog dare ya Schtick.

Uh oh! "YOUr submission ahs gtriggered the profanity filter and will not be accepte3d until the inappropriate language is removed."

Yeah... so much for freedom of speech.

John Harville

Where IS MY freedom of speech, Contango et al?

mikesee

I don't think he specifically said that to his boss. Big difference d.a.

John Harville

Yeah, his actions did say that to his boss A&E. They told him not to do the interview and not to speak about his personal beliefs that do not reflect A&E. He did both - to a magazine which, in the newest issue, urges men to wear suits without socks as professional attire....

mikesee

Funny, I read the article and can't seem to see where he said to his boss, get f'ed. Maybe you give me page, paragraph? DF

pntbutterandjelly

"Words" Words should be carefully weighed rather than merely blurted out. Why? Simply because wars have even begun due to idiotic self-righteous or self-gain concepts are actually in place. "Words" are the ONLY way to attempt to communicate our thoughts, ideas and philosophies. "Words" like, "Ignorant, long-haired, Hillbilly" come to mind. "Words"

OSUBuckeye59

A&E had a choice: pull Phil from future shows and hope to not lose many viewers and sponsors, or tell everyone Phil has a right to free speech, keep filming new episodes w/Phil included, and suffer the consequences, which again means potential loss of viewers and sponsors

I predict even more viewers to tune in and watch DD, including those shows already taped that included Phil but yet to air. Even with what A&E did, there's every possibility they'll still lose some sponsors. Personally, I would've liked A&E to tell everyone Phil has a right to free speech, and "we will not make any changes". I absolutely support Phil having the right to say whatever he wants, and stand behind that conviction. But I'm not running A&E.

And for those who believe Phil's 1st amendment rights have been infringed, were you also just as outraged over 10 years ago in March of 2003, as the U.S. was preparing to invade Iraq under the alleged belief that Saddam Hussein was hiding "weapons of mass destruction", when Natalie Maines of the 'Dixie Chicks', while looking out over an audience at the Shepherd's Empire Theater in London said, "Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”? Outraged by the incredibly swift, brutal and ongoing reactions, including stations boycotting the group and fans burning their CDs?

The rush to condemn the Dixie Chicks 10 years ago was just as swift and massive as the rush to support Phil today. The Dixie Chicks were never able to recover. The groups' career pretty much ended that day. As for Phil, I have every belief his exposure & fame will only increase, that is if he allows it to. But my point is this: 1st amendment outrage is too often one-sided. And that's not right or fair. If you really support 1st amendment free rights, you must support ALL free speech viewpoints.

Bherrle

I suspect the show would have lost very few viewers, if any. But A&E chose to be "politically correct."

John Harville

A&E chose to make a financial decision... and is reaping the benefits with a DD Marathon through Christmas.
One feature yesterday was focused on using a poodle as a hunting dog and the shame of being seen with the fine hunter "ridin' around with you in your truck'".

JudgeMeNot

Natalie Maines and The Dixie Chicks S%ck. There! I said it.

John Harville

Judgeyou not.... why? Because you LIKED the White guy in the White house?

Yep! I'll throw a card on Phil's race card about his 'best friend' Blacks.

He didn't say anything about Mexicans or migrant workers or...

Bherrle

"In his GQ interview, Robertson was asked his definition of sinful behavior."

He answered the question honestly. They are his beliefs. He was answering a flipping question asked of him during an interview by a major magazine!

Why is it OK in this country to burn the Stars & Stripes, in the name of free speech, but one is not allowed to answer a question honestly, in the name of free speech?

Our forefathers are turning over in their graves.

Unassumer

Really, there is no such thing as free speech anymore. Others will attack you if your opinion is different from the majority. Just take a look at any comments on any social media. Robertson has a big following and many supporters and they seem to be looking at A&E as the bad guy here. In reality, Robertson is a hypocrite. A man who found Jesus but shuns humans who don't agree with his beliefs. He is tolerant but as a person in the public eye, he is supposed to keep his personal beliefs to himself or face this kind of backlash. Oh, and burning a flag is way less offensive than claiming homosexuality is unnatural. Our flag has lost its democratic and pursuit of freedom meaning since 9/11. Where have you been?

Nemesis

"Our forefathers are turning over in their graves."

Why? His rights have not been violated. The Founders prohibited GOVERNMENT from sanctioning speech. Private actors are free to exercise their rights to freedom of association (something else about which the Founders felt strongly.)

John Harville

Robertson was being interviewed about his Duck Dynasty role, ministry etc. He was not responding as a 'private actor'...unless you believe GQ would have sought the interview if he didn't have the very public show etc.
Don't be a decoy.

Nemesis

He was and remains a private actor. Your response betrays both ignorance and lack of reading comprehension.

ignorance: The term "private actor" is a legal term describing a person or group of persons unaffiliated with, and not acting on behalf of, any government body, in contrast with a "state actor" which is someone acting as an agent of the government, and thus bound by limitations such as those in the Bill of Rights.

-reading comprehension: The term "private actor" was not describing Robertson, but rather A&E, which, as a private corporation, is not bound by the First Amendment or constrained by Robertson's free speech rights.
You are responding to the opposite meaning to that of the comment to which you intend to respond. I suggest therefore that you take your own advice about decoys.

White Owl

Actually, A&E as an employer that profits from public owned television broadcast rights is not permitted to violate certain civil rights statutes, including retaliating against an employee on the basis of race, gender, handicap, ethnicity and RELIGION.

This isn't a First Amendment speech case but a labor and telecommunications law case. Thus, your private actor or state actor analysis not applicable.

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