It was ironic ... one of the couples invited to the coveted State of the Union address last night at the U.S. Capitol was Willie and Korie Robertson -- to bring DIVERSITY to the event!
The "Duck Dynasty" stars were invited by Congressman Vance McAllister -- he's a Republican from Louisiana who won a close race last year, and the Robertsons helped with their endorsement.
Now here's the best part ... McAllister said he invited them to bring "some diversity to our nation's capitol."
Diversity is a tricky subject for the Robertson family ... who apparently thinks gays will burn in hell and homosexuality is a gateway to bestiality.
We're guessing they didn't ask Jason Collins for an autograph ... or vice versa.
'Duck Dynasty' Star Willie Robertson Ready... Aim... Refuses To Fire On A&E
1/1/2014 7:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
"Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson rang in the New Year with a VERY interesting and probably insincere statement -- "We all learned a lot."
Willie appeared on FOX News Channel and on the surface made nice with A&E ... not gloating that the network folded like a cheap suit and brought back Phil Robertson after he made those anti-gay comments.
But here's the deal ... the family won outright. They threatened to all leave the show if Phil wasn't reinstated and they got what they wanted and no one has apologized for the comments.
So we gotta ask ...
Phil Robertson Marry 15-Year-Olds They Clean Ducks Good
12/31/2013 6:03 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Reinstated "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson thinks guys should marry 15 or 16-year-old girls because when they get any older they become gold diggers.
Another video of Phil's preachin' has surfaced ... and in this one he implores his followers to marry young girls because "They'll pick [clean] your ducks." He goes on with a cautionary message: "You wait till they get to be 20 years old ... the only pickin' that's gonna take place is your pocket."
So we gotta ask ...
'Duck Dynasty' Phil Robertson Suspension is Over ... Says A&E
12/27/2013 3:05 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking newsThe "Duck Dynasty" war with A&E is over -- the network just announced Phil Robertson is no longer suspended ... and filming will resume in a few months.
The network says their strong sense of integrity caused them to react quickly to Phil's GQ interview ... and after consulting with numerous advocacy groups they made a decision to bring him back.
The network adds, "As a global media content company, A+E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s home and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principles."
The network says they plan to roll out a new PSA campaign on their network in the wake of what happened ... promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance.
A&E adds, "Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man's views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America has come to love."
Jesse Jackson Phil Robertson Is Worse Than Rosa Parks' Bus Driver
12/26/2013 9:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
breaking newsPhil Robertson's homophobic comments to GQ were MORE OFFENSIVE than the words uttered by bus driver who tried to force Rosa Parks to sit on the back of his bus in 1955 ... so says civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.
Jackson came out firing against the "Duck Dynasty" star this week ... explaining, "These statements uttered by Robertson are more offensive than the bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama, more than 59 years ago."
"At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law. Robertson’s statements were uttered freely and openly without cover of the law, within a context of what he seemed to believe was 'white privilege.'"
Jackson is demanding a meeting with A&E and Cracker Barrel execs ... and even issued a Friday deadline ... urging the network to uphold Robertson’s suspension from the reality show.
Unclear if the network plans to honor Jackson's demand.
Sarah Palin I Never Read Phil Robertson's GQ Article Even Though I'm Defending Him!
12/26/2013 6:35 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
So much for reading " all of em,' any of em" ...
Sarah Palin -- one of Phil Robertson's strongest supporters -- admitted SHE HASN'T READ THE GQ ARTICLE that ignited the firestorm!!!!
Palin appeared on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" the other night ... when Greta asked if Phil's explanation about why he disapproved homosexuality was too graphic in the magazine article.
Palin's response -- "I haven't read the article ... I don't know exactly how he said it."
Funny, Palin was one of the first people to defend Robertson after the story broke earlier this month -- on Dec. 18 she took to Facebook to write, "Free speech is an endangered species. Those 'intolerants' hatin and taking on the 'Duck Dynasty' patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us."
Somewhere, Kate Couric is probably chuckling ..
Chick-fil-A NO 'DUCK' FOR US We're NOT Behind Chick-Phil-A Day!
12/25/2013 8:23 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
They've got A LOT in common (killing poultry, homophobia) ... but the people at Chick-fil-A are adamant the company is NOT involved with a growing pro-Phil Robertson campaign called "Chick-Phil-A."
The Chick-Phil-A campaign is picking up steam on social media ... encouraging people to eat at Chick-fil-A restaurants on January 21st while wearing Duck Commander or camouflage gear to show their support for the "Duck Dynasty" star.
A Facebook page for the campaign says, "Stand for free speech. Sit for good food." So far, more than 40,000 people have already committed to participate
But despite the fact Chick-fil-A knows a little something about anti-gay marriage controversies, the restaurant says the event "is in no way sponsored by or affiliated with Chick-fil-A."
Chick-fil-A says Chick-Phil-A was created by an "independent group" ... though at this point, no group has come forward to take credit.
Cracker Barrel Employees Given Script To Explain Phil Boycott
12/25/2013 6:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Cracker Barrel took such a ridiculous position by boycotting Duck Commander products with Phil Robertson's punim on it ... they had to give their employees a script to deal with pissed-off customers.
TMZ obtained a copy of a script Cracker Barrel created so its employees could justify the boycott. And this is funny ... the script is actually a modified version of how employees generally deal with unhappy shoppers. Seems to be a problem at Cracker Barrel.
The script was 86'd 24 hours after it was written ... when Cracker Barrel reversed its position because it realized it stood to lose customers and therefore lots of loot.
Apparently the company needs a new script, because angry customers are still calling about its position on Phil.
How's this for a script.
-- Sorry ... we really f***ed this one up. But hey, we saw which way the wind was blowing so now we support Phil. And try our cheese eggs. They're terrific!
Duck Commander Sponsor We're Cool With Phil's Anti-Gay Comments
12/23/2013 3:16 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
A major sponsor backing the "Duck Dynasty" guys won't be pulling a Cracker Barrel -- they're standing firmly behind Phil Robertson.
Realtree Outdoors -- which distributes all Duck Commander products -- says the company's values align with Phil's ... so the partnership will remain intact.
Realtree honchos say they respect everyone's right to express their opinion -- BUT they take their "Family, Friends and the Outdoors" slogan to heart.
Guess they won't be selling rainbow flannels anytime soon.
Phil Robertson Churchgoer Sues A&E They're Screwing With My Right to Hate!
12/23/2013 2:58 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
A self-proclaimed member of Phil Robertson's church is literally making a federal case over Phil's suspension ... he's suing A&E and others because he feels the network is chilling his right to hate homosexuals.
Chris Sevier, who claims to be a lawyer, has previously sued pretty much everyone under the sun, including Bill O'Reilly, CBS, Facebook and Apple.
This time around, Sevier has put together 91 pages of law and religious propaganda, quoting scriptures about the evils of homosexuality. Sevier claims the fact that A&E has indefinitely suspended Phil is going to have a chilling effect on other churchgoers -- himself included -- when it comes to preaching what he believes is the word of God.
As for what that word is ... Sevier thinks it's rooted in sin. He says, if gay marriage is allowed, "citizens in that state should be able to marry their pets" -- he sees no difference.
In addition to suing A&E ... Sevier is suing President Obama, claiming the Prez is in cahoots with A&E to further the pro-gay agenda.
At one point in the rambling lawsuit, which Sevier says will be filed today, he says, "We live in a Christian nation 'Jack.'"
One final thing ... take a look at some of the pictures Sevier sprinkled in the suit. We don't know the rhetorical point he's making, but they're hilarious.
Phil Robertson Even I've Committed Sexual Sin!
12/23/2013 6:18 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Phil Robertson says he is not without sexual sin, but has put it in check by getting hitched.
Phil got up in front of his bible study group Sunday and said, "Sexual sins are numerous and many. I have a few myself." But his solution was plain ... "If you're a man, find yourself a woman, marry them and keep your sex right there."
Phil -- who sees the world in black and white -- is defiant about the torrent of criticism -- "I will not give or back off my path," adding, "All I did was quote from the scriptures."
Phil gave the Daily Mail access to the study group, and they heard an earful. He said, "Common sense says we are not going to procreate the human race unless we have a man and a woman."
And the strident "Duck Dynasty" star goes on, "If you're a homosexual, He'll take it away. If you're an adulterer, if you're a liar, what's the difference? If you break one sin you may as well break them all ... if we lose our morality, we will lose our country. It will happen."
And in a not-so-subtle way ... Phil calls out A&E, which acted shocked by his comments: "This week I have been asked, 'Is this the first time you have brought up sin? ... Are you kidding? I have been traveling to and fro spreading this message ... I have made hundreds of speeches ..."
And finally, there's this ... Phil railed on people who claim he's an idiot, conceding, "We are a bunch of rednecks from Louisiana, but I am not uneducated. I have a degree from Louisiana Tech."
Check out the video below with Phil's son, Alan, cracking jokes at Sunday's church service about the controversy.
Cracker Barrel We Know How the Wind Blows Phil's Products are Back
12/22/2013 2:40 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Cracker Barrel execs have cracked after just one day ... lifting their ban on Phil Robertson's merchandise ... and it's the ultimate hypocrisy.
A CB rep now says the company had no choice but to cave after "Duck Dynasty" fans blasted them via email, phone and social media.
Cracker Barrel decided to pull the products because it was so concerned about "equal treatment of all people" and "mutual respect." In other words, they felt Phil was loathsome.
But so much for principles when the almighty dollar gets in the way. Cracker Barrel now says, "You told us we made a mistake and you weren't shy about it ... you flat out told us we were wrong."
And this is precious ... They say, "We apologize for offending you."
So here's the upshot. On Saturday Cracker Barrel apparently felt Phil had offended gays and that's why they took a stand. But 24 hours later they realized a bigger problem than offending gays is offending customers who pay for CB stuff.
So now the CB rep took the position the company should have taken in the first place: "We respect all individuals' rights to express their beliefs."
How do CB execs move from office to office ... hard to do when you don't have a spine.
'Duck Dynasty' Other Networks Circle Like Sharks If A&E Passes, We're In!
12/22/2013 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
"Duck Dynasty" will NOT go homeless if A&E decides to pull the plug ... TMZ has learned, at least two other networks are salivating at the chance to pick up the popular reality show.
The owner of the popular Christian-affiliated Hunt Channel -- a guy named Merrill Sport -- tells TMZ, he'd pick up DD in a heart beat ... and would beam the show straight to its most loyal viewers: sportsmen and Christians.
He says, "We believe in the 2nd amendment and freedom of speech ... A&E needs to put on their big boy pants, and if they don't like the programming, they need to either let [DD] go or shut up and pay them."
Sports adds, "A&E is too scripted. [Hunt Channel] would let the personalities flow."
Rusty Faulk, CEO of the outdoorsy Pursuit Channel agrees, telling us Pursuit is 100% interested in grabbing DD if A&E takes a pass. Rusty adds, "We don't censor our personalities."
Even if DD comes to an end on A&E, we're told its contract with the family provides they couldn't do another show for a certain period of time.