Phil Robertson’s suspension from the A&E reality show “Duck Dynasty” is over, according to a Dec. 27 E! News report. The network announced Friday that Robertson will return to the show after a suspension stemming from anti-gay remarks in made in a GQ interview. Season 5 of “Duck Dynasty” starring Robertson is slated to premiere Jan. 15.
As the Examiner reported earlier, Robertson’s supporters, created the “I Stand with Phil petition” site, a Faith Driven Consumer website, whose moral majority supporters were prepared to boycott A&E.
The petition read in pertinent part,
“Dear A&E Network,
I am writing to you regarding your network's intolerant, discriminatory, and punitive treatment of Mr. Phil Robertson, star of A&E's #1 hit show, Duck Dynasty.
Mr. Robertson’s comments in GQ Magazine are simply reflective of a Biblical view of sexuality, marriage, and family – a view that has stood the test of time for thousands of years and continues to be held by the majority of Americans and today’s world as a whole."
Today, the network announced that the “Duck Dynasty” patriarch would return. “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,” the network said in a statement obtained by E! News.
A&E’s statement reads,
“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.”
It continues, “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.”
Robertson’s suspension garnered him support from a vast array of individuals from Bristol Palin to politicians, and of course, his own family, who suggested there would be no show without their patriarch.
In selling their decision to the masses, A&E, explains that the hit reality show “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.”
It continued, “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.”
The network is also using this opportunity to launch a tolerance campaign, E! News reports. “We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign 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,” the networks said. “These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio.”