Four days after A&E reinstated Phil Robertson following a brief suspension from filming in response to his homophobic and racist comments in GQ, the patriarch of the extremely popular “Duck Dynasty” has again become a problem for the network.
The Daily Mail, a British tabloid, discovered a video of Robertson speaking at an event in 2009 in which he advises marrying at a very young age.
“You got to marry these girls when they are 15 or 16. They’ll pick your ducks,” Robertson says in the video, arguing that young men who hunt benefit from having a wife to pluck the feathers from the birds they kill.
In many states, a person 16 or 17 years of age can marry with the consent of their parents and possibly a court order, and Robertson does recommend obtaining parental consent. Laws vary by state regarding the marriage of people younger than 16.
Robertson also suggests that living with an adult wife is expensive for her husband. “You wait until they get to be 20 years old, the only picking that’s going to take place is your pocket,” he says.
The Daily Mail found the video on YouTube, where it had been uploaded four years ago. According to the caption, Robertson is a “guest speaker for the Sportsmen’s Ministry.” It is not clear what kind of organization the Sportsmen’s Ministry is or where Robertson is speaking, although he addresses his audience as a group of “Georgia boys.”
“Duck Dynasty” is a reality show that chronicles the exploits of Robertson and his family, who own a duck-call business in northern Louisiana. Although A&E has carefully removed any hint of Robertson’s more controversial opinions from the episodes of the show that air, the network could not prevent him from speaking candidly with reporter Drew Magary, and excerpts of their interview are published in next month’s issue of GQ.
A&E announced that it was placing Robertson on a temporary “hiatus from filming” following the article’s appearance. In it, Robertson calls homosexuality a sin, argues that blacks in the south were happy before the civil-rights movement, and compares Shintoism, the Japanese religion of ancestral worship, to Nazism.
Robertson remains very popular with a large group of conservative viewers who feel that their views are not voiced elsewhere in the media. Members of his family are scheduled to appear on Fox News Tuesday night in a New Year’s Eve special.