Jep Robertson addresses crowd amid family patriarch Phil Robertson controversy at an Atlanta event on Saturday
Amid the fallout for “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson's controversial anti-gay and racial comments, one of his sons took a moment to thank fans during an Atlanta event on Saturday.
“We've had kind of a crazy week back home,” Jep Robertson said, according to AccessAtlanta.com. “We've gotten a lot of support. We really appreciate it.”
Jep didn't address the controversy specifically during the appearance at Duck Dash, a 5K race benefitting Shriners Hospitals for Children at Atlanta's Turner Field.
Since Phil Robertson's comments in an interview with GQ magazine came to light earlier this week, A&E decided to suspend the family patriarch from shooting its hit reality series – a suspension that will have very little effect on the upcoming fifth season.
In response to A&E's decision, supporters have turned out in huge numbers. One petition calling for A&E to drop its suspension of Phil is currently at 167,000 signatures and growing.
Also a spokesman for media watchdog organization, GLAAD, which held a phone meeting with A&E Wednesday morning after the comments surfaced, told TheWrap that it's experiencing its highest level of angry calls and social media posts in more than five years in response to its stance on Phil's comments.
On Thursday, the Robertson family said that it “cannot imagine” doing “Duck Dynasty” without Phil.
But, A&E is sticking to its suspension for now. A network executive told TheWrap that Nancy Dubuc, the CEO of A&E Networks, ultimately reached the suspension decision because Robertson's remarks were in conflict with “the fundamental values of the company.” And, Dubuc was responding in part to the concern of employees within the company.
It remains to be seen how the suspension will actually play out for the series with the standoff between the Robertson family, their supporters and A&E raging. Averaging about 8 million viewers per episode, “Duck Dynasty” hasn't been renewed for a sixth season and its 10-episode fifth season returns Jan. 15.