A&E on Wednesday indefinitely suspended one of the stars of its popular reality show “Duck Dynasty” after he made anti-gay comments during an interview with GQ magazine.
Phil Robertson said during an interview that will appear in the publication’s January issue that “to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus.”
“That’s just me,” the patriarch of “Duck Dynasty” that takes place in Northeastern Louisiana told GQ. “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.”
Robertson went on to describe homosexuality as a sin during the GQ interview.
He responded to the controversy his comments sparked in a statement that A&E provided to Entertainment Weekly.
“I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my savior,” said Robertson. “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.”
A&E later on Wednesday said in a separate statement to GLAAD that the network is “extremely disappointed to have read” Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are “based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series ‘Duck Dynasty.’”
“His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community,” said A&E. “The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”
GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz applauded A&E’s decision to suspend Robertson.
“What’s clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike,” said 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.”
The Human Rights Campaign is among the groups that also criticized Robertson over his comments. Others, however, were quick to come to the reality show star’s defense.
“I hope A&E loves their heterophobic, anti-Christian values because that’s all they’re going to be left with,” said Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association on his Twitter account after the network announced it had suspended Robertson. “What Phil said was not hate speech. It was the truth. The truth is only hate speech to those who hate the truth.”
“The gay lobby bullies are at it again,” stressed National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown in an e-mail to supporters that included a link to a petition that A&E apologize to Robertson and allow him to once again appear on the show. “This time they’ve attacked one of the most popular Christians in America — Phil Robertson, patriarch of Duck Dynasty’s Robertson family.”
The fifth season of “Duck Dynasty” is scheduled to begin on A&E on Jan. 15.