'Duck Dynasty' Family Questions Show Future as Support Grows
Phil Robertson in the 'I Am Second' Robertson family documentary. (A&E)
The Robertson family sticks together ... and their supporters seem to be sticking with them as well.
In response to Phil Robertson's forced "indefinite hiatus" from "Duck Dynasty" after he shared some negative thoughts about homosexuality with GQ magazine, the Robertson family posted a statement on their website to shed some light to fans on the current state of the union at the "Duck Dynasty" headquarters.
"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," it began.
The statement, positioned beneath a family photo, then shifted gears to come more adamantly to Phil's defense.
"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."
Further, it expressed the Robertsons' feelings about both A&E's actions and the future of the show moving forward.
"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."
And there is certainly a lot of support out there. Under Armour, the show's biggest sponsor, may not agree with Robertson's remarks, but it doesn't look like they're planning to bail on the show — at least for now.
[Related: How 'Duck Dynasty' Became Such a Huge Hit]
"The recent comments in the GQ article are not reflective of Under Armour's beliefs and do not represent our point of view," the brand said in a statement to omg! "As a company, we are committed to diversity and inclusion and believe in treating everyone equally and with respect."
Simon & Schuster is also standing by the controversial star. According to Publisher's Weekly, there are no plans to pull Phil Robertson's bestselling book, "Happy, Happy, Happy," (which has already sold nearly 600,000 copies) from shelves.
For its part, so far Walmart, which has a licensing deal with the family, is staying silent on the matter. The behemoth retailer told Yahoo it "has no statement."
Many of the show's fans clearly have Phil's back. The online petition IStandWithPhil.com has already garnered more than 112,000 signatures — and that number continues to grow.
Bristol Palin expressed her support for Phil in a blog post: "Everyone needs to leave Phil Robertson alone for expressing his beliefs. I think it’s so hypocritical how the LGBT community expects every single flippen person to agree with their life style. [sic] This flies in the face of what makes America great — people can have their own beliefs and own opinions and their own ways of life. Everyone needs to treat others like God would, with love. It goes both ways ... If I were Duck Dynasty, I would take my show to another channel. So much disrespect."