Phil Robertson disrespected the gay employees at A&E, and that's ultimately what got the star suspended from Duck Dynasty, according to a new report.
The 67-year-old Robertson family patriarch's suspension has become a polarizing topic this week, and now TMZ has insight into how it all went down.
Why would the network suspend one of its most popular personalities when it knew the backlash it would get for it from fans and certain pundits?
A&E CEO Nancy Dubuc felt she could not in good conscience ask the network's gay employees to kill themselves for the show after Phil's comments.
When Robertson disrespected them by calling all gays sinners, and rather coarsely at that, in his recent interview with GQ, Dubuc felt she had no choice.
A number of gay employees involved in the production of Duck Dynasty were outraged by Phil's comments to GQ and wanted Dubuc to take action.
The CEO felt that If Robertson had made similar comments about African Americans or Jews, the public outcry for his firing would've been immense.
Long story short, she felt it was wrong not to react similarly because his comments were directed at gays, of whom she employs more than a few.
Gay rights groups such as GLAAD was heavily involved in lobbying for the suspension of Phil Robertson, and they had an impact on A&E as well.
Robertson was placed on "indefinite" suspension from the show mid-week.
The Duck Dynasty cast has responded to the controversy, expressing disappointment and implying that the show won't go on without their patriarch.
As for criticism that A&E knew what it was getting into with Phil when they hired him - see this sermon video from 2010 (above) - a source explained:
"He just took it too far with GQ ... especially with the coarse language."
It certainly was harsh. Though Phil later said in a statement that he loves all of humanity and does not judge, his initial quotes did not give that impression.
Regarding Phil's religious views - the explanation for his comments - A&E is adamant that this has suspension has nothing to do with being "anti-religion."
Many critics alleged this, along with claiming that his constitutional rights have been violated. But in truth, the network runs lots of religious programming.
Perhaps most notably, A&E is the home of Mark Burnett's The Bible.
The CEO is paying the price for her actions and has been receiving death threats. The status of Robertson and the show remains unclear at this time.
He hasn't been outright fired and the show hasn't been canceled, and it's unclear if production was even underway on new episodes at the time.
In the Duck Dynasty Season 5 sneak peek (January 15), Phil is prominently featured, and there are several marathons of repeats on this month.
Clearly, the network isn't cutting ties with Phil yet, but they're most likely weighing their options and speaking with the family about how to proceed.
Should Phil Robertson have been suspended from Duck Dynasty?