"Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson isn't backing off from the anti-gay comments he made in an interview with GQ magazine.
While leading a Bible study group on Sunday in West Monroe, La., the reality TV personality spoke out for the first time about the controversy.
"I will not give or back off from my path because you conquered death, Father, so we are not worried about all the repercussions," Robertson said, according to the MailOnline, which had exclusive access to the event.
The patriarch also noted that "I love all men and women. I am a lover of humanity, not a hater."
Robertson said in the GQ interview that homosexuality is a "sin," compared it to bestiality and grouped homosexuals with terrorists.
But during the Bible group, he admitted that he wasn't free from sin himself.
"Sexual sins are numerous and many — I have a few myself. So what is your safest course of action? If you're a man, find yourself a woman, marry them and keep your sex right there," he said.
He went on to speak about the media coverage of his recent comments.
"This week I have been called an ignoramus," Robertson said. "This week I have been asked, 'Is this the first time you have brought up sin?' I said, 'Are you kidding? I have been traveling to and fro spreading this message."
A day after his GQ interview was published online, A&E, the network behind "Duck Dynasty," issued a statement saying that it was "extremely disappointed" in Robertson's comments, and that Robertson was "under hiatus from filming indefinitely."
His family and "Duck Dynasty" co-stars were quick to come to his defense. In a statement, the Robertson family noted that their patriarch would "never incite or encourage hate." They added that despite a successful relationship with A&E, the family "cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm," bringing to question the future of the hit show.
"Duck Dynasty" is the highest rated reality show on cable.
Store and restaurant Cracker Barrel also took action after Robertson's comments made waves. The business on Friday told its Facebook followers that the stores would remove "Duck Dynasty" products from shelves, but was quick to back off from the stance.
"Dear Cracker Barrel Customer: When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain Duck Dynasty items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that’s just what we've done," the company said on its website. "You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren’t shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong. We listened."
Though Robertson is under hiatus from filming "Duck Dynasty," he will still be featured in new episodes when the show returns for a new season next month, an A&E spokesperson told TODAY.
First published December 23 2013, 7:16 AM