Phil Robertson’s ‘Duck Dynasty’ Suspension is LiftedBy: Erika Watts - December 27, 2013
Duck Dynasty fans were “happy, happy, happy” to hear the news that A&E decided to lift Phil Robertson’s suspension from the popular show this evening. Just over a week after the network suspended Robertson indefinitely for remarks he made on homosexuality in a GQ interview, it appears that the A&E execs have come to realize that there is no Duck Dynasty without Phil Robertson.
As you likely remember, Robertson made what many consider to be crude comments regarding homosexuality during the interview. In the first part of the interview, Robertson said, “It seems like, to me, a vagina–as a man–would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
After making those comments, Robertson was asked for his take on modern sin and offered up his Biblical perspective. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” Robertson said.
It didn’t take long for many groups, including GLAAD, to threaten to boycott A&E if they didn’t reconsider their ties with Robertson. Hours later, Robertson’s suspension was announced, which created quite the backlash. Facebook pages, including one that had more than 1 million fans, were created to support Robertson, plus a petition was started that garnered more than 250,000 signatures. Duck Dynasty fans made it very clear that they would boycott the show and A&E if they didn’t bring back the Robertson family patriarch.
Nine days after the interview went viral, A&E released a statement saying that Robertson’s suspension was lifted and that he would be included in the filming of future episodes of the show. Check out the statement below.
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 homes, and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principles.
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 misinterpretation 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.
Even though Robertson is no longer suspended from the show, some fans still aren’t happy. Many fans considered the suspension an attack on Robertson’s religious beliefs and think that a war on free speech is being waged. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal made a few posts on Twitter about the situation.
Duck Dynasty has had strong ratings in its time on A&E, so it will be interesting to see what ratings look like in the coming weeks. Will the show continue to have strong ratings or will this controversy drive fans away? The season premiere of Duck Dynasty is slated for January 15, so we’ll know soon enough.
Image via YouTube