Well that was fast! After a heavily publicized 9 day suspension, A&E has lifted the suspension of Phil Robertson after he made some controversial remarks about both gay people and black people according to People Magazine. The decision comes after several petitions on change.org and Christian websites backed Robertson citing violation of free speech. In addition, Twitter erupted in support of Robertson and several Facebook pages were created to support the 'Duck Dynasty' star.
During an interview with GQ magazine, Robertson compared homosexuality to bestiality and insinuated that black people were happy in the Jim Crow south. He went on to say he never saw any black people in Louisiana mistreated during that time. A&E released a statement saying that ultimately it was out of concern for their gay employees who expressed outrage over the comments that they decided to suspend Robertson. Several gay employees who worked on "Duck Dynasty" were upset about Robertson comparison to bestiality and wanted the network to do something about it.
The suspension left the highest rated reality show in limbo as the Robertson family expressed that they would not continue the show without their patriarch. Last week, according to Politico Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne released a statement saying that he would help the family find a new producer for their show if A&E did not lift the suspension. Dardenne noted that the show was great for local tourism and due to Louisiana's growing role in the film industry he would be able to help the family find another network.
As news of Robertson's reinstatement spread, there was both celebration and outrage. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal released a statement saying that he was glad that A&E came to their senses. However, on social media the #aeshows on Twitter was one of the top trends as people expressed disappointment that A&E lifted the suspension so quickly. Many speculated that it was for financial reasons as opposed to doing the right thing.
'Duck Dynasty' will resume the next season in January and filming of next season with Robertson not missing any episodes will start in the Spring. The show airs on Cox Cable channel 39.
Do you think A&E did the right thing by bringing Robertson back? Do you think the suspension should have been longer? Post your comments below.