"Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson made an impression during the State of the Union address -- not so much with the President, but with 2 waiters who are now THOUSANDS of dollars richer.
Radio host Sean Hannity posted the pics ... showing Willie and his wife at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in D.C. -- hanging with Sean, GOP Senator Ted Cruz, former Congressman Newt Gingrich and conservative radio host Mark Levin.
The group closed the joint down -- the restaurant normally closes at 11 PM but the group stayed 'til 2 AM ... and they racked up a $5,000 bill.
Willie grabbed the tab and left a gratuity -- FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS! In case you have trouble computing .... a 100% tip.
Obama recently went to a local burger joint last month and left a 30% tip. Respectable but no contest.
See? Republicans don't have any problems redistributing wealth.
'Staind' Singer Aaron Lewis
'Redneck Crazy' Is an Attack On Women
2/1/2014 12:10 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
"Staind" singer Aaron Lewis is slamming the country hit, "Redneck Crazy" by Tyler Farr ... saying it promotes violence toward women -- so he had the whole thing re-written.
Lewis says he HATES Farr's song -- about an angry guy who stalks and threatens his ex-GF.
Sample lyric: "I'm gonna aim my headlights into your bedroom windows/Throw empty beer cans at both of your shadows."
The song -- which appears on Farr's debut album -- immediately shot to the top of the country charts ... and features some "Duck Dynasty" stars in the music video.
Lewis broke out his alternate version during a performance at a little bar in Medina, Ohio.
Willie Robertson Was Untouchable
During State of Union
1/30/2014 6:18 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
"Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson was less than 20 feet away from Jason Collins during the State of the Union, and Jason says he might have reached across the aisle to him ... if not for all the camera-whoring Congressmen.
Jason -- the first NBA player to come out -- was First Lady Michelle Obama's guest in D.C. ... and says, "They were moving [Robertson] from one Republican to another Republican" all night.
And Jason says the seemingly impossible -- the guy whose family patriarch said gays are gonna burn in Hell meeting America's new gay icon -- could have happened if not for all the photos and glad-handing Robertson had to do.
"We passed each other in the hall, and that was about it."
So, how did Jason see a conversation between himself and Willie going down?
Watch the clip. We think he's very ... optimistic.
'Duck Dynasty' Stars
State of the Union?
You're Lookin' At It
1/29/2014 3:34 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
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
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 ...
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 ...
Phil Robertson Suspension is Over
... Says A&E
12/27/2013 3:05 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The "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."
Phil Robertson Is Worse
Than Rosa Parks' Bus Driver
12/26/2013 9:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Phil 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.
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 ..
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.
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.