LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson is off the hit A&E reality series indefinitely after disparaging gays as sinners akin to adulterers and swindlers, the network said.
A&E announced Wednesday what it called a “hiatus” for Robertson, 67, after he disparaged gays in the January edition of GQ magazine. He also said that, growing up in Louisiana before the Civil Rights movement, he never saw mistreatment of blacks.
In a statement, A&E said it was extremely disappointed to see Robertson’s anti-gay remarks, which it said were based on his personal beliefs and do not reflect those of A&E Networks or the show. A&E called itself a supporter of the lesbian and gay community.
The channel’s move was lauded by the gay and lesbian media advocacy group GLAAD, which had quickly condemned Robertson’s comments.
“What’s clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike,” said GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz. Robertson’s removal “has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value.”
Robertson and his extended family became wealthy manufacturing duck calls and were turned into TV and pop culture stars by “Duck Dynasty,” which has set cable ratings records for a non-fiction series. Several family members appeared in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.
In his GQ interview, Robertson was asked his definition of sinful behavior.
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there,” such as bestiality, he said.