Phil Robertson is no stranger to controversy. Just days after his anti-gay and racially insensitive comments appeared in GQ magazine, he was temporarily suspended from his popular A&E show "Duck Dynasty." When fans complained, the network reinstated him. Now, he's back in the headlines for a newly surfaced video.
The 2009 footage, which was posted on Youtube, shows the 67-year-old reality TV star speaking at a Christian retreat in Georgia. During the speech, he tells a story about advising a young man to find a good Christian girl and marry her.
“Make sure that she can cook a meal. You need to eat some meals that she cooks, check that out. Make sure she carries her Bible. That’ll save you a lot of trouble down the road," Robertson said.
He then went on to say that men should wed girls who are young.
“They got to where they're getting hard to find, mainly because these boys are waiting ‘til they get to be about 20 years old before they marry 'em,” Robertson said. “Look, you wait ‘til they get to be 20 years old the only picking that’s going to take place is your pocket. You got to marry these girls when they are about 15 or 16. They’ll pick your ducks."
Robertson married his wife Kay when she was just 16 years old, The New York Daily News reported. In the state of Louisiana, such unions are legal with parental consent.
This type of "river rat counseling" is bound to raise eyebrows among network brass.
In the GQ interview, Robertson called homosexuality a sin and likened it bestiality.
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine," Robertson said. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. 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.”
In that same article, Robertson also claimed black people were happy before the civil rights era.
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. 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,” Robertson said.
The interview prompted the cable network to bench Robertson and release the following 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.”
Many conservatives, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, backed Robertson's comments; nearly 200,000 supporters also signed petitions demanding his reinstatement. That's when the network backed down and lifted the suspension.
According to CBS News, "Duck Dynasty" has 14 million viewers, and the merchandising from the program brings in $400 million.
New episodes of the show featuring the "Dynasty" patriarch are scheduled to air on Jan. 15.