In a newly-released statement, the Robertsons say they 'are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith.'
"Duck Dynasty" stars stand by Phil Robertson amid criticisms directed at him following his anti-gay comments. After A&E suspended the family patriarch, the Robertson clan has released a statement to show their support for him and hint that they may not continue filming the reality series without Phil.
"We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E's decision," the statement begins. "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."
Defending Phil, they add, "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."
The family additionally expresses their disappointment with the way A&E reacts in this situation, "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."
A&E placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely following his controversial statement on GQ in which he said that, according to the Bible, homosexuals were heading to hell. While holding on to his belief, Phil later said in a statement, "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."
LGBT group GLAAD, PETA, the NAACP and the Human Rights Campaign were among those who slammed the reality TV star for his anti-gay remarks. Fans, on the other hand, have launched an online petition to bring him back to the show.
Sarah Palin and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also defended Phil, stressing that everyone is entitled to have opinion. "The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don't agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV," Jindal stated.
"In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment." He went on comparing people's treatment to Miley Cyrus and to Robertson, saying, "It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended."