Phil Robertson's family is laying down the law with A&E after the cable network benched the patriarch from Duck Dynasty filming thanks to his controversial statements in a GQ interview.
This behind-the-scenes battle has dominated talk shows and Internet chatter this week. There are heated arguments on both sides of the issue, with lots of support for Phil pouring in, including from Sarah Palin.
The Robertson family, of course, is behind Phil 100 percent. In their family statement — printed in full at TMZ — they thanked supporters and basically threatened A&E that they’ll quit unless Phil is allowed to return.
"While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible," the family wrote. "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."
What it means is they may walk without Phil. No more Duck Dynasty. That can’t be what A&E wants, but what can they do now? Duck Dynasty has become the highest-rated cable reality TV show of all time. The Season 4 premiere in August had 11.77 million viewers and and a 5.0 rating in the coveted 18-49 bracket. That made it the highest-rated telecast in A&E history.
So the question is, what will A&E do? Can they find a way out of this that doesn't upset someone on either side of the argument?