CNN's Phillips Revisits 'Duck Dynasty' Uproar, But Lauds Family: 'Doing Something Right'
[Update, April 7, 10:55 am: the original blog entry inaccurately corrected Phillips for claiming that her husbands, correspondent John Roberts, has the last name "Robertson." In reality, Roberts' legal last name is indeed Robertson. The text below has been corrected to reflect that fact.]
CNN'S Kyra Phillips zeroed on the controversy surrounding Phil Robertson's remarks about homosexuality on Wednesday's New Day, as she interviewed Robertson's son Willie Robertson and his wife, Korie. Phillips played up the "firestorm" after the Duck Dynasty star's interview with GQ, and asked his son, "Is that what you believe?"
However, the correspondent went on to compliment Willie Robertson and his family for how well they apparently have raised their children: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
KYRA PHILLIPS: You know, guys, one thing that really stood out to me as a mom – I mean, this couple is definitely doing something right with their five kids. They've got three biological, two adopted. They're involved in this orphanage. And these kids have fame, money, everything at their fingertips. And I said, how do you keep those kids grounded? How do you keep them from being a Justin Bieber or a Lindsay Lohan? And, bottom line: they love – they love family, and their faith is number-one. And you look at those kids and go – wow, all right, you definitely are doing something right.
Anchor Michaela Pereira noted the end of the latest season of Duck Dynasty as she introduced Phillips' segment, and underlined how "the reality series came under the microscope this year, following inflammatory comments from one of its stars, Phil Robertson. He made headlines with remarks many people called racially insensitive and anti-gay." Phillips continued by highlighting that "the Robertson family [is] unapologetic about their beliefs...And they're very, very grateful for their success....But one thing Willie and Korie did tell me: if it all went away tomorrow, they'd be just fine."
The CNN journalist led her interview of the younger Robertsons by pointing out that she is "married to a Robertson" -- a reference to her former CNN correspondent husband, who now works for Fox News and goes by the professional name John Roberts. Moments later, she pointed out how the couple appear in a recently-released movie titled "God's Not Dead," and asked them about their roles.
Phillips then raised the controversy, and pressed Willie Robertson to answer her questions on the matter:
PHILLIPS: (voice-over): Tonight marks the end of the fifth season of Duck Dynasty – airing in the wake of the firestorm surrounding Willie's father, Phil....Phil spoke with GQ magazine, answering a question about sin this way: 'Don't be deceived. Neither the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the drunkards – they won't inherit the kingdom of God. It's not right.' That comment, in addition to another about race in the pre-civil rights era, drew fierce criticism. A&E suspended Phil from the show for about a week, after that article hit newsstands.
PHILLIPS (on-camera): You said you wanted to clear the air about Daddy Phil – go for it.
W. ROBERTSON: Oh, my father, he made – he made Christmas very interesting for us. I remember doing that interview, and this guy – I think he already had what he wanted to put, and he was certainly – you know, asking specifically this and that, and Phil just said what he thought – you know, what was on his heart. And, you know, he didn't say it quite – you know, he did some paraphrasing there and-
PHILLIPS: Well, let's lay it out. He paraphrased First Corinthians, right? Where it talks about homosexuals, male prostitutes, drunkards-
W. ROBERTSON: Thieves – yeah, yeah, yeah-
PHILLIPS: Yeah – thieves – that they're all the same. Is that what you believe?
W. ROBERTSON: That's what First Corinthians says, and so – and he prayed-
PHILLIPS: What does Willie say?
W. ROBERTSON: He prayed – well, I believe what the Bible says, and so, that's what he says to put those in. Now, you know, you have to read the Bible and make – you know, make up your own mind. You have to decide, and God will ultimately decide it. And I – we don't profess to be God, and we certainly don't profess to be perfect at all, because we have our own sins that we deal with.
K. ROBERTSON: Anybody – anybody who knows him – any gay, straight, black, white – anybody who knows Phil knows that he is about love, and his message is about God's love and God's grace and God's forgiveness ultimately.
PHILLIPS: And for him and for you, the Bible is literal. That's how it is, right?
W. ROBERTSON: That's how it was said – yeah.
K. ROBERTSON: Yeah.
After Willie took the correspondent crossbow shooting for the first time, she asked the couple, "If this all goes away tomorrow – be honest with me – how does that hit the heart?" They both answered, "Totally fine," and Mrs. Robertson continued that "we were happy before it; we'll be happy after it. If this is it, this is it. We had a good run." Mr. Robertson added, "We were able to use that platform to get out God's message....And if it ended right there, it ended right there. And I felt like that was pretty much what God prepared us to do."