A&E Backs Down on Phil Robertson’s ‘Duck Dynasty’ Suspension

A&E confirmed on Friday that “Duck Dynasty” will resume filming later this spring with the “entire Robertson family.” That means Phil Robertson’s “hiatus” from the show, sparked by his remarks about homosexuality in GQ magazine, will have absolutely no impact on the upcoming season or the show at large.

The Robertson family also announced on Friday that Phil will still be as involved as ever in the series. The “Duck Dynasty” patriarch missed no filming during his temporary suspension that resulted in intense backlash from fans.

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 last week for disparaging comments he made to GQ magazine about gay people.(AP Photo/A&E, Zach Dilgard)
This 2012 photo released by A&E shows, from left, Phil Robertson, Jase Robertson, Si Robertson and Willie Robertson from the A&E series, “Duck Dynasty.” The A&E channel says “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson is off the show indefinitely after condemning gays as sinners in a magazine interview. In a statement Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, A&E said it was extremely disappointed to read Robertson’s comments in GQ magazine. (AP Photo/A&E, Zach Dilgard)

Read A&E’s statement relating the show via the Hollywood Reporter:

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.

An A&E source also told the Hollywood Reporter the family and network plan to work together to promote “tolerance” in the future.

In the GQ interview that started all the controversy, Robertson said homosexuality is “not logical” and immoral from a Biblical sense. He also questioned why a man would choose another man’s “anus” over a woman’s “vagina.”

For more details on the GQ interview, read TheBlaze’s initial report here.

UPDATE: Todd Starnes claims the Robertson family released the following statement exclusively to him on Friday:

“The family is 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.”