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[BREAKING] Phil Robertson Suspended by A&E Following Comments (Updated)

‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson suspended from filming by network after controversial comments.

A&E has confirmed that it has suspended filming with Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family, over comments he made in a GQ article published earlier this week.

Robertson, the founder of the popular duck call company Duck Commander, will be “under [a] hiatus from filming indefinitely,” according to an official statement from the network.

The Washington Post reported A&E’s statement, which read:

We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series ‘Duck Dynasty.’ His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been supporters and champions of the LGBT community.

The news comes in the wake of yesterday’s report on the reaction to Phil’s comments.

Fox News gathered reactions from notable names who are speaking out about Robertson’s suspension, including this post from Sarah Palin’s Facebook account:

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.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal followed up with:

Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.

A&E is receiving backlash as a result, with a social media overload on their Facebook page. Fans are posting on their wall and commenting on posts nearly every second.

People have also taken to Twitter to voice their opinions on the matter. The Twitter hashtag #StandwithPhil has been trending since the announcement. The newly created @BoycottAETV account is quickly gaining followers.

Here are some recent tweets on the suspension from various Twitter users:

A&E has only used the term “hiatus” to describe Robertson’s suspension from the show.

A petition to end Robertson’s suspension has gathered nearly 40,000 signatures as of 10:00 a.m. on Thursday.

The question on our minds is what will happen to the Duck Dynasty empire? The franchise has been valued at $400M, and is widely distributed by big box retailers like Wal-Mart.

After what happened to Paula Dean, it’ll only be a matter of time before sponsors are expected to chime in.

UPDATE, 1:00pm CST:

The first Duck Dynasty sponsor has released a statement supporting Phil, stating they will stand by him despite media uproar. Via TMZ,

A company called Skyjacker — which builds truck suspensions — tells us it stands solidly behind Phil and the show … saying it’s a matter of God and country — it’s a free country and Phil has a right to his opinions.

Company brass tells us it goes beyond the Constitution … to the Creator:  “We are a Christian- based company and actively share our faith so standing with Phil Robertson is an easy choice for us.”

UPDATE, 1:40pm CST:

A&E has released a statement regarding Phil’s appearance in the new season of Duck Dynasty. Via NBC,

When “Duck Dynasty” returns for its new season on Jan. 15, “Duck Commander” Phil Robertson will be a part of it, an A&E network spokesman told TODAY on Thursday.

UPDATE, 3:45pm CST:

Phil’s pastor spoke to the media about how Phil has been spending his time since the news broke yesterday afternoon. Phil visited his church Wednesday night. Via USA Today,

“Phil led us in prayer,” said Mike Kellett of White’s Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe, La. “There were greater things on our minds than the firestorm of controversy about this article.”

Asked how Robertson, who is an elder in the church (which means he offers counsel and helps lead Bible study), is taking the criticism of his remarks on homosexuality, Kellett said, “He’s very calm, and very confident that if he serves the Lord, God will take care of everything.”

We will continue to update this article as additional information becomes available.

What is your reaction to A&E’s decision? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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[BREAKING] Phil Robertson Suspended by A&E Following Comments (Updated)