'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson will remain on show, A&E says
"Duck Dynasty" family patriarch Phil Robertson will be back on the popular A&E reality show when new episodes begin filming in 2014, the network said in a statement on Friday. A&E had previously suspended Robertson after he was quoted in GQ magazine discussing homosexuality.
"A+E Networks' core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect," the statement read. "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 principles."
The statement went on to "reiterate that (Robertson's personal beliefs) are not views (the network) holds," but to note that " 'Duck Dynasty' is not a show about one man's views." It noted that the Robertson family often is seen on the show coming together "to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness."
"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," the network said. "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.'"
In the GQ interview, Robertson commented on homosexuality and racism. GLAAD issued a statement criticizing his remarks, while others, including former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, defended Robertson.
The announced suspension had no effect, since the show was already on hiatus so the Robertson family could participate in duck-hunting season, and most of the upcoming season had already been filmed. The rest of the Robertson family had announced they could not imagine filming the show without their patriarch.
"Duck Dynasty" returns to A&E on Jan. 15.