(Photo: Courtesy of A&E and Howard Books, an Imprint of Simon and Schuster)
Phil Robertson, patriarch on the A&E reality series "Duck Dynasty," recently said he will be addressing his December 2013 controversy with the television network in his upcoming book. Robertson made this announcement while his family received an inaugural business award from La. Gov. Bobby Jindal in West Monroe, La., earlier this week.
Phil Robertson spoke briefly about the controversy during a press conference after the Robertson family received the inaugural Governor's Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence. In December 2013, Robertson was temporarily suspended from appearing on his "Duck Dynasty" reality show due to comments he made regarding homosexuality in an interview with GQ Magazine.
"People have asked me why I haven't made a statement," Robertson said at the small award ceremony on Thursday afternoon. "I've got a book coming out in the fall, and that will be my statement." According to Amazon.com, Robertson is authoring a new book "unPHILtered: The Way I See It" along with contributor Mark Schlabach, to be published on Sept. 2, 2014.
Robertson's reference to the controversy was a small part of Thursday's event, during which Gov. Jindal, along with his wife and children, arrived at the Robertson homestead in West Monroe to present their inaugural local business award. Jindal presented Willie Robertson, CEO of the family's "Duck Commander" duck call business, with the award, citing the family's hard work and dedication in making their business a nationally-recognized, multi-million dollar brand.
"The Robertsons have lived the American Dream," Jindal said at the event. "They've proven there are no limits to what you can accomplish." Jindal added in a prepared statement that the reason he selected the Robertsons for the award is because of "the tremendous impact that Duck Commander's expansion has had on our community and on all Louisianians."
"This is incredible," Willie said after receiving the award. "The glory goes to God and credit to Kay and Phil when this wasn't making sense. Nobody had any idea what was in store for us."
Jindal came to Phil Robertson's defense over the controversial comments made last year, releasing a statement at the time, saying the family patriarch and his family are great citizens of Louisiana.
"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. 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. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended."
Phil Robertson released a statement immediately after his controversial GQ interview in which he said he would never be disrespectful to people who are different from him, but he never released a statement addressing the A&E suspension, which was lifted after only nine days due to intense public backlash.
The controversy that erupted over Robertson was in regard to comments he made to the men's magazine regarding homosexuality, when he told journalist Drew Magary that in modern-day America, "Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong. Sin becomes fine."
"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."
Although some called Robertson's comments discriminatory, other prominent leaders, including Mike Huckabee and Russell Moore, defended his biblical views and free speech rights.