Of all the controversial remarks "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson made during his infamous interview with GQ, one quote in particular pushed A&E over the edge.
An executive from A&E told TheWrap that Nancy Dubuc, CEO of A&E Networks, ultimately decided to suspend Robertson from the filming of "Duck Dynasty" because of his comparison of homosexuality to bestiality.
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine," Robertson told GQ's Drew Magary about immorality. “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.”
On Wednesday, Dec. 18, A&E announced Robertson would be "indefinitely" suspended from the reality series.
“A&E decided to consider the company’s brand and corporate values over that of the show’s audience,” Eric Schiffer of Reputation Management Consultants told TheWrap. “It was a measure of deference to the larger company’s demographic.”
The recent controversy is surely a blow. "Duck Dynasty" became the most-watched reality series in cable history when Season 4 premiered in August with 11.8 million viewers, Entertainment Weekly reported.
The 67-year-old's comments revealed a darker side of reality television, one that previously reared its ugly head when Food Network celebrity Paula Deen was fired over the summer for her racist comments.
"Channels like A&E program 'regular' people mostly to make curiosities out of them," Jeffrey McCall, a media studies professor at DePauw University, told the Los Angeles Times. "The programmers want to manage every aspect of their 'reality' commodities, but that isn't really possible. If A&E wants the Robertsons to make money for the channel by being authentic, then at some point A&E has to accept that reality stars will be real human beings. If A&E didn't like the Robertsons as they are, then why did they give them a weekly platform?"
The future of the show is allegedly in doubt because the Robertson family released a statement saying they "cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm."