Well that, as they say, didn’t take long. The Hollywood Reporter broke the story this afternoon that scarcely two weeks after Phil Robertson’s anti-gay remarks led to his firing (now being referred in retrospect as an “indefinite hiatus”) from the cast of “Duck Dynasty,” the patriarch is back and will remain on the series.
A&E provided a statement, which follows:
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.
Readers are free to interpret A&E’s reactions and comments as they will. For fans of the series, some quarter million of whom signed a petition demanding that Robertson be returned to the cast, the decision is an indicator of strength in numbers, For the gay advocacy group GLAAD, the announcement represents a resounding defeat.