Phil Robertson Returning to ‘Duck Dynasty’
In the face of a firestorm of controversy, A&E has lifted its "indefinite" suspension of 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson.
The 67-year-old patriarch of the Robertson clan was suspended Dec. 18 after comments that he made about homosexuals and African Americans in an upcoming issue of GQ hit the internet, causing a national controversy. Robertson didn’t hold back when asked to define what he considers “sinful.”
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there,” he replied. “Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”
Robertson supported his views by using Scripture. “Don’t be deceived,” he added, paraphrasing from Corinthians. “Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God.”
He also said that while growing up in pre-civil rights era Louisiana, he “never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once,” he insisted, adding, “Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
A&E responded by placing him on indefinite hiatus, saying in part, “His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks.”
But the decision was met with protests from many who felt Robertson's First Amendment rights had been violated, with both a petition online and a Facebook page demanding his return going viral. His family issued a statement that placed the future of the enormously popular show in doubt, saying in part, "We cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm."
In a statement Friday (Dec. 27), the network announced that the Robertson family patriarch will return to filming with the rest of the cast when the show resumes in the new year.
The statement reads:
“‘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. 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.’”
Friday's announcement means the show will return without Robertson missing a single episode.