If you asked yourself "Where was the publicist?" when "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson went off on gays during his big interview with GQ magazine ... TMZ now has the answer ... the publicist was not there!
Sources very familiar with the situation tell us ... a publicist did indeed accompany Robertson to the interview -- per A&E's rigid PR policy -- and the interview took place in several locations. When the GQ reporter and Phil hopped on ATVs, the publicist didn't come along for the ride.
We're told it was then the reporter apparently saw an opening and Phil made his incendiary anti-gay comments
It's pretty shocking ... because Phil is widely known as a loose cannon ... so it's a little like playing Russian Roulette to let him gallivant off with a reporter.