A&E Reinstates 'Duck Dynasty's' Phil Robertson: His Family and Fans React
This undated image released by A&E shows Phil Robertson, flanked by his sons Jase Robertson, left, and Willie Robertson from the popular series "Duck Dynasty." Phil Robertson was suspended for disparaging comments he made to GQ magazine about gay people but was reinstated by the network on Friday, Dec. 27. In a statement Friday, A&E said it decided to bring Robertson back to the reality series after discussions with the Robertson family and "numerous advocacy groups." (AP Photo/A&E, Zach Dilgard)
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.
Alan Robertson, Phil's pastor son, gave a statement to E! News on behalf of his family following the decision: "Our family has become even closer through the past 9 days and we are excited to keep making a quality tv show for our dedicated fans, who have showed us wonderful support ... We will continue to represent our faith and values in the most positive way through Duck Dynasty and our many projects that we are currently working on. The outpouring of support and prayer has encouraged and emboldened us greatly."
Miss Kay, Alan Robertson, and Phil Robertson on 'Duck Dynasty' Season 4.
Conservative groups that called for Robertson's reinstatement are applauding the move, including Faith Driven Consumer, the organization behind the "I Stand With Phil" petition that amassed more than 260,000 signatures. But a statement from founder Chris Stone made it clear they're not done holding A&E's feet to the fire just yet.