The family at the centre of A&E’s ratings hit Duck Dynasty (pictured) say they “cannot imagine the show going forward” without suspended patriarch Phil Robertson, adding that they are in discussions with the U.S. network over the show’s future.
Robertson was put on indefinite suspension by the network yesterday (December 19) after making a series of anti-gay remarks in an interview with GQ, as previously reported.
The broadcaster said Robertson’s beliefs “in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community.”
In a statement issued yesterday evening on the Robertson family’s ‘Duck Commander’ website, they expressed disappointment in the network’s decision and threw a question mark over the future of the show.
The statement said: “We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. 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.”
The statement came after a number of U.S. conservative figures, including Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and former U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, criticized A+E for its decision and threw their support behind the suspended star.
A+E Networks is declining to comment on the Robertson family’s statement.