Fox News’ Bill Hemmer tried his best but “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson kept his comments innocuous in the first interview from a family member since his father was briefly suspended from work on the hit A&E Network reality show.
Robertson and his wife Korie did a live appearance on Fox News Channel’s “All American New Year’s Eve” special on Tuesday. The pair spoke with Hemmer and Elisabeth Hasselbeck via remote from Colorado.
“We’re just glad to be back to work,” Willie Robertson said. “A&E and I are fine. We’re looking forward to getting back to work and making some funny shows. It’s a new year, we’re starting all over again.”
Hemmer pushed but Willie, the CEO of the family’s Duck Commander business, was not taking the bait. His father, Phil Robertson, was briefly suspended this month from work on the show after he made inflammatory comments about gays and African Americans in an interview with GQ magazine. A&E’s decision to put him on “indefinite hiatus” sparked a backlash from viewers and conservative orgs who argued that the elder Robertson was being punished for expressing his religious views about homosexuality.
“Duck Dynasty” has exploded as a hit in the faith community in part because the family is demonstrative about its Christian faith. The family rallied around Phil and indicated that it would not film new episodes without their patriarch. A new season of “Duck Dynasty” sets unspools on Jan. 15, and new episodes are set to be filmed in the spring after A&E backed down and reinstated Phil Robertson.
“We’re ready to move on. We all learned a lot,” Willie Robertson said. “The family’s happy. We’re ready to go.”
Just in case viewers didn’t get the message, Korie Robertson enthused: “We’re all happy, happy, happy. … The best thing about this show is we get to do it as a family.”
Willie Robertson made it clear that his focus was not on the culture wars that erupted around the “Duck Dynasty” flap but managing the family’s Duck Commander duck hunting supply business and making sure he didn’t “blow his knee out” while skiing in Colorado.
When Hemmer pressed him for details on how Phil Robertson was spending New Year’s Eve, Willie responded: “I reckon he’s asleep.”