A&E warned “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson, who was recently suspended from the show, about sharing his views on topics such as gay rights and race relations, before the show even premiered in 2012, the Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker reports.
The cable channel was aware of Robertson’s controversial opinions, which he had aired in videotaped sermons and in other outlets, the story says.
“In essence, the network was asking Phil — a man of legendary individuality, who once passed up an opportunity to sign with the NFL because it might interfere with his hunting — to be somewhat less Phil-like. But that is the kind of wobbly bargain that reality TV producers have been forced to make,” the story reports.
The piece adds: “For some time, Phil Robertson held up his end of the speak-no-evil bargain. But that’s over now, obviously.”
While A&E deals with the crisis — members of Robertson’s family are standing by him, saying in response to his suspension that they can’t imagine continuing the show without him — other networks are circling, reports TMZ.com.
“Duck Dynasty” won’t be left without a network if A&E cancels the show, the story says. The Christian-affiliated Hunt Channel is interested, as is Pursuit Channel. Both networks said they wouldn’t keep Robertson from expressing his views.
Robertson was suspended by A&E after telling GQ magazine that “homosexual offenders” will not “inherit the Kingdom of God" and making other anti-gay comments.
Robertson spoke publicly on Sunday for the first time since the controversy, saying he wouldn’t go back on his remarks, reports the U.K.’s Daily Mail. “I will not give or back off from my path,” he said. He was leading a Bible study group in his hometown, and allowed the newspaper to attend.
He defended himself by saying he was quoting from the Bible, and said Jesus could save gay people.
“I love all men and women. I am a lover of humanity, not a hater,” he said. “We are a bunch of rednecks from Louisiana, but I am not uneducated, I have a degree from Louisiana Tech. But this week I have been called an ignoramus. This week I have been asked, ‘Is this the first time you have brought up sin?’ I said, ‘Are you kidding? I have been traveling to and fro spreading this message.’”