Phil Robertson has been reinstated by A&E after a brief suspension for making anti-gay remarks, but the Duck Dynasty patriarch is caught up in a new controversy thanks to a video in which he advises men to marry girls as young as 15.
The footage, which surfaced Monday on YouTube, is said to be from a 2009 Georgia Sportsmen’s Ministry event. In it, Robertson offers what he calls “river rat counseling,” and warns men not to marry girls who are out of their teens.
“Look, you wait ’til they get to be 20 years old, the only picking that’s going to take place is your pocket,” he says. “You got to marry these girls when they are about 15 or 16. They’ll pick your ducks. You need to check with mom and dad about that, of course.”
That last remark refers to the parental consent required in many states for a girl to marry before she is 18. (Some states forbid anyone underage to marry at all.)
Among Robertson’s other dating advice: “Make sure that she can cook a meal” and “make sure she carries her Bible. That’ll save you a lot of trouble down the road.”
Robertson, 67, made similar remarks in his book Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as the Duck Commander, published earlier this year. In that book, he revealed that he married his wife, Kay, when she was 15.
“Miss Kay was the perfect woman for me,” he wrote. “I was sixteen and she was fifteen when we were married. Nowadays some people might frown on people getting married that young, but I knew that if you married a woman when she was fifteen, she would pluck your ducks. If you waited until she was twenty, she would only pick your pockets.”
He added: “Now, that’s a joke, and a lot of people seem to laugh at it, but there is a certain amount of truth in it.”
Meanwhile, Phil’s son Willie Robertson will speak about his father in a special appearance Tuesday night on Fox News Channel s New Year special.
Willie and his wife, Korie, will be guests on Fox’s All-American New Year’s Eve, hosted by Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Bill Hemmer beginning at 9 p.m. ET, the Associated Press reports.