As anyone who's watched even a few minutes of A&E's reality hit "Duck Dynasty" can tell you, Phil Robertson is a pretty conservative guy.
But in an interview published in January's GQ Magazine, the duck call inventor and Roberston family patriarch goes on record with comments about the sinfulness of gays and black people under Jim Crow that are about as forward-thinking as his Old Testament facial hair.
In the profile, an unedited Robertson sounds off on what's ailing the country during a trip through the Louisiana backwoods.
“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,” he tells reporter Drew Magary. “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.”
He also muses rather colorfully about his own sexual orientation: “It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
In a quote that may raise even more eyebrows than his feelings about gays, Robertson claims he "never" saw black people mistreated during the pre-civil rights era in his home state, and strongly suggests that African Americans were more content under Jim Crow.
"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," he said. "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 also shares an interesting rationale for voting for Mitt Romney over President Obama, saying he favored the candidate because he was from Salt Lake City, a safer city than Chicago. "Where would I rather be turned around at 3 o'clock in the morning?" he said. As Magary points out, Romney, though a Mormon, hails from Boston.
The Robertsons, particularly Phil, are outspoken about their Christian faith (each episode of "Duck Dynasty" ends with a prayer) and have also campaigned for Republicans, but their show, a hit in red and blue states alike, is largely nonpolitical and has so far carefully avoided issues such as race and gay rights.
The comments could prove to be a headache for A&E, which has a ratings winner in "Duck Dynasty." The August season premiere of the technically unscripted (if carefully edited) series garnered 11.8 million viewers, setting a record for a nonfiction cable program, and it regularly beats out many shows on broadcast. Season 5 is set to bow Jan. 15.
A&E was not immediately available for comment.