Will Phil Robertson’s anti-gay comments hurt “Duck Dynasty”?

Update: A&E announced that it has suspended Phil Robertson from appearing on Duck Dynasty, Entertainment Weekly reports.

Well, I think if we were all being honest with ourselves, we just had to wonder when something like this was going to happen. Phil Robertson’s comments to GQ, during which he bluntly relates his interpretation of the Bible’s stance on homosexuality, have sparked an outrage, one that threatens to take Duck Dynasty from a show that we can all like to one that becomes a referendum on your morality and politics.

Sigh, let’s hope not.

Duck Dynasty Christmas Phil Robertson A&EIn a rollicking, wholly entertaining interview with writer Drew Magary (let’s not allow that to be lost amid all this controversy), the Robertson family patriarch trots out the old fire-and-brimstone chestnut linking homosexuality with the overall moral decline of America:

“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.”

While this alone might be enough fodder for some culture warriors, I’ve always found it disingenuous, or naive at best, to get angry about comments like these. No one in the Robertson family has ever tried to shy away from their traditional Christian beliefs, so it seems silly to act offended when they actually state them.

My personal favorite line is when Magary describes what it’s like to talk with Phil Robertson, and it maybe provides an insight to Phil’s default state of mind: “There are times when he doesn’t look you in the eye while he’s speaking — he looks just off to the side of you, as if Jesus were standing nearby, holding a stack of cue cards.”

Perhaps more offending — or at the very least, off-putting — is when Phil’s condemnation of homosexuality gets anatomical:

“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.”

In trying to explain God’s, and thus his family’s, love for all people, Phil also seems to equate homosexuals with terrorists. So, yes, he’s certainly said a mouthful. None of it should really be surprising, but it undoubtedly puts a dent in the carefully crafted apolitical image A&E — and I would imagine the Robertsons themselves — have tried to give Duck Dynasty. With episodes and specials that reach up to 14 million viewers, it’s the kind of show that goes far outside what could be seen as its built-in demographic and crosses over to a staggeringly wide audience. Everybody loves Duck Dynasty, even many of those illogical folks Phil was talking about.

I’ve interviewed Willie a couple of times, along with Miss Kay, and regularly do Duck Dynasty recaps, and have enjoyed every bit of it. While I don’t hunt, wear camo or sport a beard, I am an unabashed fan of the family and the show. Their antics may be “semiscripted,” but their genuineness is not, and that is why their appeal is so strong. For the most part, red-staters and blue-staters alike can enjoy watching the Robertsons do their thing and not feel bad about it. Hopefully that can continue, even though in the cocktail party that is Duck Dynasty, somebody just made the huge faux pas of bringing up politics and religion. Or rather it’s such that we live in a world today where they so often are the same thing.

Photo: © 2013 Credit: Karolina Wojtasik


  1. continued from above— they suspended Phil? I say the Robertson family should stand by their dad, and leave A&E when their contract is up and shop for another home. They are popular enough that their fans will follow them. They have, and are, making loads of money for A&E and they have the audacity to suspend Phil the minute the homosexual community is offended. Phil, you have my support and I will watch Duck Dynasty on whatever network they are on

  2. I think what A&E has done to Phil Robertson is an outrage. He was ASKED his religious beliefs, and when he gave them he was labelled a bad guy. First of all, homosexuals were not the only group he mentioned. Second, the comments he made about not disrespecting anyone who is different was ignored. Third, not EVERYONE supports homosexuality. Why is it that anyone who speaks out against homosexuality is homophobic, or some other bad thing? Heterosexuals have as much right to their feelings about it as homosexuals. Phil was stating things that ARE based on what is written in the bible, so why is everyone condemning him? He never said he wasn’t a sinner. He simply said certain things are condemned by God. We all know that God will make the final judgement, but he has every right to stand up for what is biblical. If anyone chooses not to like it, so be it. But don’t ask the man his beliefs, then make him to be a bad guy. As for A&E, did it occur to them that they may lose viewers

  3. This is what is wrong you can’t say anything about anything your opinion is like a death sentence
    If you don’t like something don’t buy it don’t watch it everyone has their own opinion on this situation but unless you are a person in the spotlight no one cares
    I support Phil and the show I don’t care what other people’s beliefs are as long as they don’t hurt anyone
    He said what most people think he should not have been penalized on his thoughts but A&E has to cover their collective asses and bow down and cave in
    Because some one didn’t like what was said to me that’s bullshit
    Grow up and move on there are so many other wrong things going on in the world
    It’s so disturbing as soon as one person or group gets offended by something it’s a major catastrophe
    It’s just someone’s belief it’s not hurting anyone man woman child or any other living thing
    Get over it and move on
    I support you Phil !!!

  4. Perhaps the state of the US political system and political correctness is not ready for the opinions of the American people. Our Founding Fathers understood government could not be trusted, to preserve Freedom of Religion, Freedom of the Press, Freedom of Speech, the Right of Free Assembly, and the Right to Petition the Government. This is why the People made a law(the 1st Amendment) that forbids Congress, to even make laws that deal with any of these subjects. Yet, we have hundreds of laws that violate every single aspect of the 1st Amendment.

  5. They asked for his OPINION. We all have the right to our opinions. The media is guilty of making it sound like he is on a Crusade or making Policy. Back off Media, if you need more attention call your MOMMY.

  6. Please excuse me i dont normally reply to anything so if i seem harsh i apologize way in advance. I admire a man that sticks to his principles what ever they may be. im not saying im inclined to agree, but im so sick and tired of listening to the advocates of this group or that group. Please lets just let the man have his opinion and let it be. I have three children they have a mind of there own , my oldest daughter has found the love of her life and she’s quite proudly a lesbian and i am very proud of her as woman not just because of her accomplishments but also because she well, in my opinion a lovely human being she has nothing but my love and support. She’s not a judgemental person nor does she pond her fist when her life style is not appealing to others. I, so tired of this bullshit, give it a rest. and if phil is the man i think he is he would agree your all a bunch of whiney whistle blowers that have nothing better then to tromp all over this mans constitutional rights get over it. Weren’t you all just slamming miley a while ago because shes a real gir. and you all played right into her hands Brovo Milley.

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