The Duck Dynasty family has put the future of the mega hit show in doubt with a statement of support for their embattled patriarch Phil Robertson.
On Thursday, a day after the revelation that Robertson had made some controversial comments about gay people in GQ, A&E suspended the patriarch indefinitely.
Now, the Duck Dynasty family are “in negotiations” with A&E over the future of the series after saying they can’t imagine the show without their leader.
The family statement reads:
“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 Duck Dynasty patriarch’s comments have created outrage in the LGBT community and are viewed as homophobic:
“It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. 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.”
A&E almost immediately came out and suspended Robertson from appearing on the show, although the rest of the family members were not included in the decision.
However, after the Duck Dynasty family statement, it is unclear whether the show will go on at all.
The NAACP and Human Rights Campaign wrote a joint letter to the president of the network expressing outrage at Robertson’s comments “and deep concern about the recent racist, homophobic, and ill-informed remarks made by Phil Robertson.”
However, Robertson and Duck Dynasty have their supporters, and a Change.org petition already has over 78,000 signatures to “Bring Phil Back!”
On Wednesday, Roberston made a statement in response to the criticism directed at his comments and the firestorm of controversy they have created:
“I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me,” he said. “We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity.”
According to A&E, the Duck Dynasty Season 4 premiere in August was watched by nearly 12 million viewers to become the No. 1 non-fiction series telecast in cable history. Season 5 of the series is supposed to start January 15.