Jess Cagle
January 03, 2014 AT 05:00 AM EST

An Open Letter To Phil Robertson
Listen up, Miss Thing: First of all, congratulations! You pretty much dominated the news cycle over the holidays. During a season ostensibly dedicated to goodwill, you managed to get your intense disdain for gay people and patronizing views on African-Americans disseminated all over the place. First there were your comments in GQ, where you lumped homosexuals in with terrorists and drunks, and said African-Americans were “singing and happy” before civil rights. Then some politicians and commentators kept the story going by taking your side on the gay thing. Meanwhile, a sermon you preached in 2010 resurfaced, and it was a doozy! You said homosexuals are full of “murder, envy, strife, hatred…. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.” (Really? All that? You must think gay people are masters of time management.) The problem for you, Phil, is that not everyone liked your comments. Especially A&E, the network that airs Duck Dynasty. They’re now worried about sponsors, ratings, and being in business with a lunatic. And whether you admit it or not, you probably hate the idea of less camera time. After all, you’re a born showman; during that 2010 sermon, after characterizing gay people as “insolent, arrogant God haters,” you woke up the congregation with a rousing demonstration of duck calls. As the controversy heated up, you took a stab at damage control, proclaiming that “I am a lover of humanity, not a hater.” Saying that with a straight face was quite an acting feat. Judi Dench, watch and learn!

Phil, I am gay, and was raised a Southern Baptist. Some of the kindest and finest men and women I’ve ever known have views on homosexuality that differ from mine. Still, they are my friends and family; I love them and know they love me. But yours is not a message of love. It’s a racist, unhinged, homophobic message festooned with name-calling and anger, and wrapped loosely and disingenuously in a package of “religious beliefs.” But not to worry, Phil. Even though you’ve alienated parts of your audience, you’ve galvanized others. And while a bunch of us spent the holidays watching Love Actually for the umpteenth time, you proudly demonstrated a superhuman narcissism, shockingly misguided convictions, and a crazy appetite for attention. You reminded us that you are a perfect reality TV star, a Kardashian of the Wild.

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