It’s a late Christmas gift for “Duck Dynasty” fans: Just nine days after placing star Phil Robertson on indefinite suspension following his controversial remarks in an interview with GQ, A&E has reversed its decision and reinstated the patriarch, effective immediately.
And since no filming for the show has taken place in those nine days, Phil won’t miss a single episode.
Here’s A&E’s official statement, in full:
As a global media content company, A+E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s home and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principals.
That is why we reacted so quickly and strongly to a recent interview with Phil Robertson. While Phil’s comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the “coarse language” he used and the mis-interpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would “never incite or encourage hate.” We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold.
But Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family… a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A+E Networks also feel strongly about.
So after discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family.
We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found in Duck Dynasty. These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio.
Despite our celebration, we remain uncertain of A&E’s true intent. Today, in the network’s statement of their core values — centered on ‘creativity, inclusion, and mutual respect’ — Faith Driven Consumers are left wondering whether A&E considers us to be a part of America’s rich rainbow of diversity. Do they also now embrace the biblically based values and worldview held by the Robertson family and millions of Faith Driven Consumers? Did the network’s engagement and consultation with ‘numerous advocacy groups’ include Faith Driven Consumers? We eagerly anticipate A&E’s naming of those groups to ensure that our community was includedcomparing gay people to terrorists. If dialogue with Phil is not part of next steps then A&E has chosen profits over African-American and gay people — especially its employees and viewers.