‘Duck Dynasty’ Family Criticizes A&E Over Phil Robertson Suspension: Is the Show in Trouble?
It's been quite a day for the 'Duck Dynasty' scandal over family patriarch Phil Robertson's controversial homophobic comments, with everyone from Sarah Palin to the Louisiana governor chiming in amid a petition of over 90,000 signatures demanding A&E lift Robertson's suspension from the series, but the Robertson family has reached out with their own reaction that threatens the future of the series.
Debate has raged in every direction following Phil Robertson's GQ interview, in which the 'Duck Dynasty' star suggested homosexuality to be a sin that he himself could not comprehend. Many have suggested that A&E violated Robertson's free speech and biblical-established views in suspending the star from future episodes, even as the highly-rated reality series preps a fourth season to debut on January 15, with Robertson's involvement likely intact.
Now, bolstered by support from either wing, the Robertson family have released their own statement that seems to suggest there could be no future 'Duck Dynasty' if indeed A&E follows through on their suspension:
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. 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.
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.
The conflict itself presents a significantly complicated issue, as the network would most likely take the Robertson family to court should they breach contract to abandon 'Duck Dynasty,' though A&E couldn't technically hold Robertson accountable for breaching any disparagement clauses in his contract either. However debatable his viewpoint, none of Robertson's controversial remarks directly referenced either the show, or its associated networks, and were of his own admission a personal viewpoint.
The conflict will no doubt continue in the weeks and months to come, even as A&E prepares to debut a fourth season of 'Duck Dynasty' on January 15, but what say you? Could the future of the show be in jeopardy, if the Robertsons decide to rally behind their patriarch? Was A&E right to dissociate itself from Phil's homophobic viewpoint with a suspension?