Speaking at the the Western Conservative Summit last week in Denver, Robertson linked the alleged murders of 160,000 U.S. citizens to the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision legalizing gay marriage. Robertson’s remarks came just four days before Wednesday’s season 10 premiere of “Duck Dynasty.”
An A&E spokesperson declined to comment to Variety on Robertson’s speech.
Addressing an audience at the three-day political gathering whose other speakers included Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and Carly Fiorina, Robertson estimated that 6,000-7,000 Americans died in the wars in Iraq in Afghanistan. “At the time of those two wars over the last 13, 14 years, you see going on right here in America, 160,000 were murdered,” he added. “Sounds like we got a bigger war going on here than over there. Well who’s behind it?”
Robertson continued, “When you allow men to determine … what’s right and what’s wrong, you get decisions like the five judges saying, ‘I may not know we have 7,000 years of history of men marrying women. A male and a female. For that reason, they’ll leave their father and mother and cleave to one and other and become one flesh. I know it’s been that way for 7,000 years, but we know best for what’s everyone.'”
Robertson has previously courted controversy with his anti-gay remarks. A&E suspended him from “Duck Dynasty” in 2013 after GQ published a profile of the reality-TV star in which he made offensive comments about gay sex. It then ended the suspension nine days later following a backlash from the show’s socially conservative fanbase.
At the time, “Duck Dynasty” was a ratings juggernaut for A&E, with its 2013 season three premiere attracting 11.8 million total viewers in Nielsen live-plus-same day numbers — the most ever for a cable nonfiction show. Viewership for the series, which follows Robertson and his family, has since declined. Wednesday’s season 10 premiere drew 1.4 million total viewers.
Watch video of Robertson’s speech to the Western Conservative Summit below: