Duck Dynasty producer not angry with Phil Robertson over gay comments
Phil Robertson's comments on homosexuality made headline news and got him temporarily suspended from his own reality TV show.
But Duck Dynasty producer Deirdre Gurney suggests what is important is how Robertson treats gay people, not what he thinks about their sexuality.
Robertson took a lot of heat for the comments made during an interview with GQ magazine just before Christmas, when he said sin started with homosexual behaviour and would "just morph out from there" to bestiality and casual sex.
He went further still, saying it was "just not logical" for one man to choose another man's rear over the female anatomy.
His family defended the principles expressed in Robertson's comments while admitting his word choice had been a little coarse. He was reinstated to the show after a successful social media protest.
While Gurney was silent at the time of the furore, she has broken her silence in comments made during The Hollywood Reporter Reality Roundtable in which she admitted to being surprised by the backlash.
"I don't think anyone expected it to be that kind of a reaction and get that much attention, so no one was prepared with what this really meant, what to say," she said.
She said that while she wanted to speak out at the time, she and others in her team "were out of it as the production company".
"When this happens with talent or the network, it's really the network's job [to handle it]. We make it for them, but it's their show – it's their job to decide how they want to handle it and what they want to do," she said.
Gurney seemed resigned to Robertson's views but also suggested he treats people the same, regardless of their sexuality, and that that is what matters.
"He has his beliefs and stands by them. But that isn't how he treats people – it is what he thinks. I think there's a separation between what he thinks and how he thinks people should be treated," she said.
"I don't think he was saying anything about how people should be treated."
The roundtable took place as season 6 of Duck Dynasty premiered this week.