NEW YORK Dec 19 U.S. cable television network
A&E suspended Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the backwater
Louisiana clan in its hit reality show "Duck Dynasty," on
Thursday for making anti-gay comments.
Robertson, the bearded founder of the Duck Commander company
in the show about hunting, fishing and domestic squabbles that
draws millions of viewers, was put on indefinite leave for his
remarks in an interview in the men's magazine GQ.
"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph from there,"
Robertson, 67, said when asked what is sinful. "Bestiality,
sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman
and those men."
A&E said it was extremely disappointed after reading
Robertson's remarks, which it added were his personal views and
did not reflect those of the network.
"The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming
indefinitely," it said in a statement.
Gay rights group GLAAD condemned Robertson's comments,
saying he knows nothing about gay people.
"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," GLAAD said in a statement.
But not everyone thought Robertson's comments merited a
"Free speech is an endangered species: Those 'intolerants'
hatin' & taking on Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing personal
opinion take on us all," tweeted former U.S. Republican vice
presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, also a Republican,
criticized A&E's reaction and described Robertson and his family
as "great citizens of the State of Louisiana."
"The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all
viewpoints, except those they disagree with," Jindal said in a
"I don't agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine
interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a
good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a
free country and everyone is entitled to express their views."
Faith Driven Consumer, a group that connects Christian
shoppers with faith-compatible companies, started a petition
drive to reinstate Robertson immediately.
"Simply put, Phil Robertson is being censored and punished
for quoting the Bible, and A&E's treatment of him is punitive
and highly discriminatory," said Chris Stone, the organization's
Robertson's suspension casts a cloud over the future of
"Duck Dynasty," which drew 11.8 million viewers in August for
the debut of its fourth season, a record for a cable nonfiction
series, according to A&E.
The TV show has also spawned diverse merchandise, from
books, bobblehead dolls, sporting goods and apparel to
antibacterial bandages and camouflage reclining furniture. A&E's
online store has more than 300 "Duck Dynasty" products.
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Mary Milliken and
Lisa Von Ahn)