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Event Featuring ‘Duck Dynasty’ Star Cancelled By Christian Ministry Over Reality Star’s Wine Deal

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Willie Robertson attends the 47th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 6, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (credit: Loccisano/Getty Images for Big Machine Label Group)

Willie Robertson attends the 47th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 6, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (credit: Loccisano/Getty Images for Big Machine Label Group)

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GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (CBS Charlotte) — A Christian ministry has cancelled an event featuring “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson because the reality TV family has gone into the wine business.

Greeneville’s Free Will Baptist Family Ministries said Robertson’s appearance at a fundraiser to benefit the “School Expansion Project” would send the wrong message to the people who go through the organization’s drug and alcohol program.

“Our greatest responsibility is to the young people we serve. Therefore, we feel that in light of the recent news that the stars of the show ‘Duck Dynasty’ are partnering with Trinchero Family Estates to launch Duck Commander Wines, to continue with this event would send mixed messages to the young people who go through our Adolescent Drug and Alcohol Program,” Derek Bell, director of development for Family Ministries, said in a statement.

Bell said the lives of the children who go through the program “hang in the balance.”

“Our message must be consistent. The lives of those children may well hang in the balance,” Bell stated. “We certainly apologize to the people who have already purchased tickets, and pray they understand our position.”

The event was originally moved from October from April 12 due to a scheduling conflict. The tickets that have already been sold can be refunded by Viking Hall Civic Center and at e-tix.com.

Proceeds from the event would have benefited the planned 10,000-square-foot expansion of the ministry’s state-accredited school.

Bell told the Christian Post that Robertson was understanding of the move.

“We think they’re great people. We appreciate them bringing faith back into the mainstream on television like they have,” Bell told the Christian Post. “We just hate that they’ve made that decision and it’s caused us to have to go the direction that we’re going.”

The Robertsons announced at the beginning of November they reached a deal with Trinchero Family Estates to release Duck Commander Wines.

“We decided to create Duck Commander Robertson Family wines because we know that many of our customers and our viewers choose to celebrate family moments with wine,” Robertson said in a statement. “We knew we needed to find a family company in the heart of wine country that could produce authentic, quality wines. The Trinchero family is the right fit, and the wines are delicious.”

“Duck Dynasty” has been a rating’s smash for A&E, pulling in a record 11.8 million viewers for its Season 4 premiere.

The Robertson family’s Duck Commander business is based out of West Monroe, La.

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