Willie Robertson: Duck Dynasty CEO's appearance at Christian fundraising event cancelled after Duck Commander's wine collaboration
Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson's appearance at a 'Duck Dynasty' fundraising event for Free Will Baptist Family Ministries has been cancelled following the family's decision to venture into the wine business.
Willie Robertson, the CEO of Duck Commander, had been scheduled to speak at a benefit in Bristol, Tenn., in April next year. Last week, the duck-call manufacturing family announced the news of its new business, Duck Commander Wines, in collaboration with winemakers of Trinchero Family Estates in Napa.
However, Family Ministries cancelled his appearance after announcing on Monday that Duck Commander Wines goes against the organization's main values.
Family Ministries director Derek Bell stated: "Our greatest responsibility is to the young people we serve. Therefore, we feel that in light of the recent news, to continue with this event would send mixed messages to the young people who go through our Adolescent Drug and Alcohol program. Our message must be consistent. The lives of those children may well hang in the balance. We certainly apologize to the people who have already purchased tickets, and pray they understand our position." Instructions on how to get a refund for those who have purchased tickets are posted on the ministry's Facebook page.
The ministry had expected a large teen turnout for the event, and decided that the appearance of the Duck Commander CEO would not be the right fit, a rep for the ministry told FOX411.
The event at the Viking Hall Civic Center had been part of the organization's effort to raise $1.7 million for the "School Expansion Project." The money raised would have gone towards a 10,000-square-foot expansion to the ministry's school.
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Bell explained that Willie Robertson was understanding of the ministry's decision to cancel the event. He told The Christian Post: "We think they're great people. We appreciate them bringing faith back into the mainstream on television like they have. We just hate that they've made that decision and it's caused us to have to go the direction that we're going."
The Robertson family have made their wealth through a duck-call manufacturing business and have been thrust into the spotlight since the family's A&E reality show took off. Members of the devout Christian family are outspoken about their faith and have spoken at numerous churches and events.
The famous family also brought out their own Christmas album titled "Duck the Halls", which was released Oct. 29.
"Faith, family and ducks - in that order - have always been our priorities," said Willie. "Christmas is an important holiday for us not only because of our strong faith, but also our holiday family traditions. We're having a great time making this album. We hope you enjoy it."