'Duck Dynasty' Drama: Battle Lines Drawn Over Phil Robertson Suspension
Phil Robertson (Paul Drinkwater/NBC)
Less than two hours later, as news of these remarks spread like wildfire, prompting the "Duck Dynasty" star to clarify his statements.
"I myself am a product of the '60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior," he said in a statement issued by A&E on Wednesday. "My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty, and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."
But that softening of language wasn't enough to prevent fallout for the duck-hunting father of four, and later that same afternoon, A&E suspended Phil from filming.
"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,'" A&E stated."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."
GLAAD — which had released a statement in response to Robertson's original comments urging A&E "to reexamine their ties with someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and their families" (and which also contained a thinly veiled boycott threat) — wasted no time in praising the network's action.
"What’s clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike," stated GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz. "By taking quick action and removing Robertson from future filming, A&E has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value."
[Related: How 'Duck Dynasty' Became Such a Huge Hit]
Piers Morgan also took to Twitter to share his feelings about both Robertson's comments and those who are defending them on the basis of freedom of speech.
Phil Robertson is not a 'victim of political correctness'. He's a victim of his own repulsively racist, homophobic bigotry. #DuckDynasty — Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 19, 2013
Just as the 2nd Amendment shouldn't protect assault rifle devotees, so the 1st Amendment shouldn't protect vile bigots. #PhilRobertson — Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 19, 2013
Calm down, everyone. I'm merely exercising my own 1st Amendment freedom of speech rights to say Phil Robertson's a racist bigot. — Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) December 19, 2013
Lance Bass took a decidedly more lighthearted approach in his reaction to the story:
But not everyone agrees with A&E's swift decision. Sarah Palin took to Twitter to support her friend.