Duck Dynasty‘s Robertson family is “disappointed” to see A&E suspend patriarch Phil Robertson for making anti-gay comments that were, they acknowledged, “unfiltered” and “coarse” yet “grounded in the teachings of the Bible.”
As such, pending Phil’s return to the hit reality series, the family says, “We cannot imagine the show going forward without [him] at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty.” (Their complete statement appears below.)
In a new GQ profile, the 67-year-old Duck Commander founder (photo, far right) called being gay a “sin” and compared it to bestiality. “It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus,” he told the mag. “But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical… 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.”
As Robertson came under fire for such remarks, his cable employer responded by saying in a statement: “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 a TVLine reader poll, 67 percent of respondents said A&E was wrong to suspend Robertson.
Duck Dynasty Season 4 this past August premiered to 11.8 million total viewers — a record for a cable reality series — and went on to have its highest rated cycle to date.
The Robertson family’s complete statement, posted to their website on Thursday night, follows:
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.