TODAY   |  December 24, 2013

‘Duck Dynasty’ star defends controversial comments

“Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson is not backing down from anti-gay comments he made during a GQ magazine interview that led to his indefinite suspension from the popular reality show, telling his church group he was “just reading from the scriptures.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> in a town. love that story.

>>> we'll begin with the latest on the state of duck dynasty following the suspension of its star. can and should the show stay on the air?

>> reporter: duck dynasty family patriarch told his church book he was just reading from the scriptures when he lumped homosexuality with prostitution and more in an interview published last week. whether i said it or people read it, what's the difference? the sins are the same.

>> robertson made no reference to his controversial remarks about african americans that when he was growing up he never saw blacks mistreated. they were happy, he said. no one was singing the blues. he said i would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. i love all of humanity. this hugely popular show about a likely down home family of louisiana hunter and bible thumpers.

>> i instruct them on ducks and biblical matters. the rest of the troop is vowing they won't go on without him. can there be a middle ground ?

>> the show can still go on if they can come up with a way that those views don't come into the show and advertisers can still feel comfortable with what the show is.

>> reporter: one hint of what advertisers might face, cracker barrel which stopped selling merchandise relented under pressure from the show's fans and there's been outspoken support from conservative figures ranging from ann coulter to the louisiana governor .

>> i think it's important to stand up for his right to be heard.

>> reporter: but groups representing blacks and gays are preparing for an extended fight. glad saying it will increase the pressure on cracker barrel now and advertisers later. a middle ground , hard to see. nbc news los