US TV star Phil Robertson suspended for anti-gay remarks

Duck Dynasty The hit reality sitcom follows the Robertson family and their multi-million 'duck-call' business

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US reality star Phil Robertson has been suspended from his TV show following derogatory remarks about homosexuality.

Robertson had been asked to describe sin by GQ magazine, and replied: "Start with homosexual behaviour and just morph out from there."

He went on to paraphrase the Bible, condemning bestiality and adultery.

TV network A&E said it was "extremely disappointed", adding the comments were based on Robertson's "personal beliefs" and "in no way reflect those of A&E".

More than 9m viewers regularly watch reality sitcom Duck Dynasty in the US.

It follows the lives of the Robertson family, a clan with old-fashioned values who live together in Louisiana, running their multi-million dollar family business, Duck Commander - which makes products for duck hunters.

'Not right'

The show - now in its fourth series - has broken several ratings records on both A&E and cable television as a whole, with the fourth season premiere drawing 11.8 million viewers.

Interviewed for the January issue of GQ, Robertson said he could not understand why a man would choose to sleep with another man, instead of a woman.

"There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying?" he was quoted as saying. "But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical".

Pressed to give his own definition of sin, he first suggested homosexuality, then added: "Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."

"Don't be deceived," he continued. "Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers - they won't inherit the kingdom of God."

"Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."

A spokesman for the Gay And Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) condemned his remarks as "some of the vilest and most extreme statements uttered against LGBT people in a mainstream publication" and said "his quote was littered with outdated stereotypes and blatant misinformation."

Following A&E's decision to place Robertson "under hiatus from filming indefinitely", GLAAD's Wilson Cruz added: "What's clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike."

"By taking quick action and removing Robertson from future filming, A&E has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value."

Phil Robertson Phil Robertson defended his comments, saying he was "a product of the 60s"

Robertson released his own statement through the network calling himself "a product of the 60s".

"I centred my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Saviour.

"My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.

"However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."

Support

The Robertsons, particularly Phil, are outspoken about their Christian faith, and each episode of their series ends with a prayer.

Former US vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and several Fox TV commentators, were among those who defended Robertson

"Free speech is endangered species; those 'intolerants' hatin' & taking on Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing personal opinion take on us all," tweeted Palin, while her Facebook page included a picture of the politician with the Duck Dynasty cast.

Sean Hannity, host of the Hannity talk show, said it was a "slippery slope" to begin firing people over things they said, while Megyn Kelly, of The Kelly File, called for a "discussion".

"He is a Christian man - I grant you he did not say in this kindest way - but why can't there be a debate about it?"

"We've seen this clash over and over. [It's] yet to be resolved," she added.

Series five of Duck Dynasty is expected to be broadcast mid-January.

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