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Duck Dynasty products under fire at VA medical center

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A Vietnam veteran has taken aim at Duck Dynasty products on sale at a Veterans Affairs Medical Center store in Albuquerque, and it looks like all the items in his cross hairs will be removed from the canteen’s shelves.

Robert Anderson is one of many people upset over a magazine interview in which Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson made comments they found racist and homophobic. In the January issue of GQ, the 67-year-old TV patriarch calls homosexuality a sin, comparing it with bestiality. Robertson, who is white, also claims that African-Americans he knew during the Jim Crow era in the South “were happy.”

On Dec. 27, Anderson – who served in the Air Force in Vietnam in the 1960s – wrote to the canteen that he was “greatly offend(ed) that the Veterans Administration Patriot Store would sell items promoting an entertainment group that clearly stands for racism and bigotry.

“The reactionary views incorporated into the Duck Dynasty group are contrary to the policies and mission of the VA medical system to not discriminate among veterans based on race or gender,” he continued. “Please remove these ugly divisive items immediately.”

A few days later, in an email to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Anderson urged quick action “to remove the racist and bigoted products” from VA canteens. On Monday, the Central New Mexico Community College instructor said he was still waiting to hear back from the national office.

Last week, Debra Abeyta, assistant chief of Canteen 501 in Albuquerque, advised Anderson that she, too, was “very upset by the racist remarks made” by Robertson, adding, “We here at the canteen service in no way promote such ideas and have taken steps to remove the product from the store.”

Abeyta said Monday that the canteen ordered the items before the controversy erupted over Robertson’s comments. “(We) are doing all we can to get (the product) out of our stores,” she said.

Already, Abeyta said, the canteen had persuaded the distributor of Duck Dynasty DVDs to take them all back and give the store credit. The canteen drastically slashed prices on other items to get rid of them but was trying to “cut our losses as much as possible.”

Robertson also has come under fire for advising men to wed Bible-carrying teenage girls who can cook.


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