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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Charlie Sheen to Phil Robertson
Or Face a 'Masheen Style Media Beatdown'
12/21/2013 2:03 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Charlie Sheen just WENT OFF on "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson -- threatening to unleash a monstrous media attack on the reality star ... unless he makes amends with gay people.
Sheen posted the long diatribe on Twitter ... and quickly put Phil on notice saying, "just when your desperately sub evolved ass thought the pressure was off, you are now in the crosshairs of a MaSheen style media beat down."
Charlie claims he's only voicing his opinion out of the blue for one reason ... to stick up for all his gay friends whose voices are not as powerful.
The letter is filled with classic Sheenism's -- like calling Phil a "shower-dodger", something about Charlie whittling his "cosmic banjo" ... and even a "news flash" for old times sake.
you have offended and hurt so many dear friends of mine,
who DO NOT have the voice or the outreach that I do.
well news flash
I will speak loudly and clearly for ALL of them.
just when your desperately sub evolved ass thought the pressure was off,
you are now in the crosshairs of a MaSheen style media
(I'll try to keep the big words to a minimum as not to confuse you)
your statements were and are
the idea that you have a job
outside of dirt-clod stacking
is a miracle.
the only 'Dynasty' you are attached to might be the
re-runs of that dated show.
the only thing you should ever be in charge of building is a hole in the ground the exact size of
perhaps your beard would fit as well if you plucked out the
army of scabies and
bull weevils sequestered deep in it's sarcophagus of dander and weasel pelts.
shame on you.
you're the only surviving
brain donor I've ever known.
when the gators and Egrets
kick you out of their
you need to make serious amends to those you have
on the eight day
when I was whittling my cosmic banjo,
I'm pretty sure YOU were the scattered dross I then used to light a fire and
locate the nearest
repulsed by you;
Duck; that was me.
Cracker Barrel Bails On Phil's Products
12/21/2013 12:15 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Cracker Barrel has become the first sponsor to cut bait with "Duck Dynasty" ... but not entirely.
The Southern-themed food chain reacted to Phil Robertson's anti-gay comments by removing "selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests" from their stores and restaurants.
We called a bunch of Cracker Barrel stores, and the managers told us the products that were removed were the ones that had Phil's face plastered on the packaging. Almost to a person, the managers added, "We still offer a wide variety of Duck Commander products," and then we heard a click.
C.B. offers this explanation ... "We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture."
As for most of the remaining products ... we're told you can find them in the sale bin.
Didn't Want to Diss Gay Employees
By Keeping Phil on Show
12/21/2013 10:15 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Phil Robertson disrespected gay employees at A&E ... and THAT'S why he was sacked from "Duck Dynasty" ... sources connected with the network tell TMZ.
We're told A&E CEO Nancy Dubuc felt she could not in good conscience ask gay employees to kill themselves for a show when he disrespected them by calling them sinners.
Our sources say ... gay employees involved in the production -- and there are a number of them -- were outraged by Phil's comments to GQ and wanted Dubuc to give him the ax.
We're told Dubuc felt this way ... If Phil had made similar comments about African Americans or Jews ... there would have been a public outcry for his head. She felt it was just plain wrong not to have the same sense of indignation when the comments were directed at gays.
Our sources say GLAAD was heavily involved in lobbying the network to 86 Phil, and they had an impact.
As for TMZ's criticism that A&E knew full well what it was getting with Phil when they hired him ... as one source put it, "He just took it too far with GQ ... especially with the coarse language."
Our sources say A&E is adamant -- this has nothing to do with being "anti-religion." Fact is ... the network runs lots of religious programming, notably, Mark Burnett's "The Bible."
The CEO is paying the price. We're told she's been receiving death threats.
Christian Country Band
'Duck Dynasty' Haters May Riot
We Need Help!!!
12/21/2013 12:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The Rhett Walker Band is worried a full blown riot may break out this weekend at their concert in Ohio ... and it's all because one of the guys from "Duck Dynasty" will be there.
John Godwin from "DD" is scheduled to make an appearance Sunday at the Rhett Neck Xmas show in Lima -- and Rhett says they've been getting blasted on social media for it ... with some threatening to cause major ruckus.
However, Rhett makes it clear -- he's not gonna let some haters ruin his concert ... especially since the singer agrees with everything Phil said ... and he's vowing to make sure it goes off without a hitch to support the suspended reality star.
Walker adds, "We do support Duck Commander and 'Duck Dynasty' ... if that blows us into an area where people think we hate the gay community that would sadden me -- but we 100% support Phil and what he said."
The band says they are beefing up security at the event ... just to be safe.
A&E Publicist MIA
When Phil Went Off On Gays!
12/20/2013 4:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
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.
Principles are Principles
But Money is Money
12/20/2013 9:31 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
A&E will continue to profit off Phil Robertson and his family during Christmas week -- despite the fact that they benched Phil for his recent anti-gay comments -- because the network will be airing SEVERAL huge "Duck Dynasty" marathons.
DD is pretty much taking over A&E's Christmas schedule. The network will air 4 separate rerun marathons of the show in 4 days (December 22-25) totaling 35.5 hours of air time.
December 22 -- 5PM-4AM EST
December 23 -- 7PM-4AM EST
December 24 -- 6PM-9PM EST
December 25 -- 3:30PM-4AM EST
because he publicly preached about his beliefs for years.
So we gotta ask ...