'Duck Dynasty' Star's Anti-Gay Remarks Create a Headache for A&E
"Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson has condemned homosexuality in a feature on the series' stars that appears in GQ magazine's January issue, giving A&E Networks a PR problem around one of its biggest hits.
The article says Mr. Robertson sees the popularity of "Duck Dynasty" as a bit of a corrective in a country losing its values, where "sin becomes fine." Asked what's sinful, Mr. Robertson says:
"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 he paraphrases 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."
Elsewhere the article quotes Mr. Robertson saying:
"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."
The comments have gotten the attention of GLAAD, which has asked A&E Networks whether it stands behind Mr. Robertson's comments, according to a post on the GLAAD website.
"Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe," GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz said in the blog post. "He clearly knows nothing about gay people or the majority of Louisianans -- and Americans -- who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples. Phil's decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families."
A&E declined to comment on the article, but provided further explanation from Mr. Robertson.
"Duck Dynasty" has been a breakout hit for A&E, returning for a fourth season in August to 11.8 million viewers. While ratings eroded a bit during the season, the finale in October still pulled 8.4 million viewers, and a Christmas special drew 8.9 million viewers.
The question is how the comments will impact the show. Food Network dropped Paula Deen from the channel earlier in the year after she admitted in a deposition that she had used racial slurs.
In 2007, A&E halted production of "Dog the Bounty Hunter" after star Duane Chapman made racial slurs. The show returned to the network less than a year later.