A&E’s Duck Dynasty is in danger of going off the air, after the homophobic rant of its star and family patriarch Phil Robertson. The show, centering on the lives of the Robertson clan, a Middle American family, who made it big after the elder Robertson made a fortune from the invention of the duck whistle. The family touts their conservative values with each episode ending with everyone gathered in prayer. This week, the entire hit series was enveloped in scandal, as Phil Robertson made very public homophobic comments. The Duck Dynasty patriarch grouped homosexuality together with bestiality and said that it was “sinful” and “illogical”.
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The reaction was swift, with GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) firing off a statement to A&E and threatening to boycott. "Phil's decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to re-examine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families," GLAAD said in the statement.
The family is in turmoil after their patriarch was suspended by A&E.
Following this threat, A&E promptly suspended Robertson from his central role on the show. This, however, caused the Robertson family to issue their own statement early on Thursday, threatening to stop working on the top rated cable programme: "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," the Robertson family said in a statement late Thursday.
The family have made clear their feelings on the subject.
"We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty."
They also attempted to explain away the offensive comments: "While some of Phil's unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible." The family has enjoyed strong support from prominent conservatives, most notably former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who said on her facebook page: “Free speech is an endangered species."
Noted Conservative Sarah Palin also got involved.
"Those 'intolerants' hatin' and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us," the former governor of Alaska added.
For now, the fate of Duck Dynasty remains unresolved. According to sources for E!Online, the Robertsons are very serious about quitting the programme, if Phil is not reinstated.