Duck Dynasty Scandal Timeline
What the duck is going on? From Sarah Palin to the NAACP, here's the scandal that has everyone quacking.
How it all started
On December 18, GQ posted an interview with Phil Robertson, patriarch of the A&E's "Duck Dynasty" that included that included his controversial opinions on gay marriage and black people.
Robertson likened homosexuality to bestiality saying, "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and those men."
The Louisiana native grew up in the pre-civil rights era and also said life was not so bad for black people then.“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person," Robertson is quoted in GQ. "Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
Unsurprisingly, A&E was not happy. While the show attracts up to 12 million viewers, Robertson was indefinitely suspended for his remarks. They said in a statement, "We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty. His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”
Fists up from the Right
Immediately, fans of the show came out swinging in Robertson's defense, prompting the hastag #IStandwithPhil to go viral. Right-wingers Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal cited Robertson's right to free speech, hateful or not.
Sarah Palin wrote on Facebook: "Free speech is an endangered species. Those 'intolerants' hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.
Senator Cruz: “If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over the treatment of Phil Robertson. Phil expressed his personal views and his own religious faith; for that, he was suspended from his job. In a free society, anyone is free to disagree with him — but the mainstream media should not behave as the thought police censoring the views with which they disagree.”
Governor Bobby Jindal: “The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with… In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”
"Daily Show" host Jon Stewart also weighed in on his show: “Look, I think what the guy said is ignorant, but I also have an inclination to support a world where saying ignorant shit on television doesn’t get you kicked off that medium."
Louisiana still considers gay sex illegal
The LA Times' Matt Pearce somewhat put this whole scandal in perspective: "Sodomy, meantime, is still technically a crime in Louisiana. State law allows a punishment of up to five years in prison for perpetrating a 'crime against nature,' as the statute calls it. The statute isn't really supposed to be functional anymore; the Supreme Court in 2003 struck down anti-sodomy laws across the U.S... [but a] Baton Rouge Advocate investigation published in July revealed that the East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's office had arrested at least a dozen people under the anti-sodomy law since 2011."
The Robertson family response
The Robertson family finally released their own statement, standing with Phil. "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,” the family wrote. “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."
For good measure, Buzzfeed found a delightful clip of Scott Gurney, the creator of "Duck Dynasty" starring as a gay-for-pay porn star and meth addict in a 2001 movie called "The Fluffer."