'Duck Dynasty': A&E lifts suspension on Phil Robertson
The standoff is over: A&E announced today that it will resume production on its hit show Duck Dynasty with Phil Robertson.
Production will resume later this spring. The network released this statement today: "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."
New episodes of Duck Dynasty that were previously shot and that feature the Robertson family patriarch were set to begin airing Jan. 15. The lingering question was whether Robertson would continue on the show after he made anti-gay and racist statements to a magazine.
Duck Dynasty is in the middle of its fourth season and averages 14.6 million viewers, which include DVR playback.
UPDATE: GLAAD responds: "Phil Robertson should look African American and gay people in the eyes and hear about the hurtful impact of praising Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists. If dialogue with Phil is not part of next steps then A+E has chosen profits over African American and gay people – especially its employees and viewers."