A&E has ducked away from a controversy surrounding the stars of its hugely popular reality series Duck Dynasty.
The network issued a statement late Friday backing off from its previously announced suspension of Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the clan behind the successful Louisiana-based Duck Commanderduck-calling business. The suspension was triggered by Robertson’s interview with GQ, published last week, in which he made anti-gay statements, which he said reflected his religious beliefs.
In a statement, the network cited its “core values” of “inclusion and mutual respect” to explain why “we reacted so quickly and strongly.” “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 Networksexpressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold.”
The statement then offered some wiggle room: “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,” the statement said. “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.”
And they dump this news on a late Friday afternoon on December 27th.