"Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson, who aroused ire following the release of an interview in which he made controversial comments about homosexuality and race relations, experienced increased sales for his book "Happy, Happy, Happy" in the days after the interview hit national news.
"Happy" was originally released this past May.
In Robertson's Dec. 18 interview in GQ Magazine, he said of contemporary society, "Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong... sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."
Robertson also said that when he was growing up in Louisiana before the civil rights movement, "I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’ – not a word!.... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
Between the week ending on Dec. 15 and the week ending on Dec. 22, sales for "Happy" increased by 86 percent, according to Publishers Weekly.
"Happy" publisher Simon & Schuster elected to continue selling the title after Robertson's comments were released. Jonathan Merkh of Howard Books, the imprint of S&S which released the title, told Publishers Weekly, "While Phil Robertson has always been known for his opinions, we do not condone his recent remarks, nor do they reflect the views of Howard Books or Simon & Schuster. In our experience publishing the Duck Commander books he has always treated one and all with the utmost respect regardless of political leaning, sexual orientation or religious views, and we believe that the Phil Robertson we know is more properly represented by this statement from his GQ interview: 'I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.'"
Some agree that the book should stay on shelves. As pointed out by Los Angeles Times writer Hector Tobar, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression president Chris Finan believes that even considering yanking the title is endangering the right to freedom of speech.
"Booksellers sell books, including books that some people find offensive,” Finan said in a statement. "While booksellers make individual choices about what to sell, we believe our customers have a right to purchase any book that is protected by the First Amendment."
Robertson was temporarily removed from "Duck Dynasty" by network A&E following the release of his comments, but he was soon reinstated.
He ran into further controversy earlier this week when remarks he made in 2009, in which he advised those seeking wives, "You got to marry these girls when they are about 15 or 16," resurfaced.
Other "Duck Dynasty" cast members have also released titles, including Si Robertson's book "Si-Cology" and Kay Robertson's "Miss Kay's Duck Commander Kitchen."