Well, so much for that. Following A&E’s controversial move to “ban” ‘Duck Dynasty‘ patriarch Phil Robertson from future filming after his comments on homosexuality in a recent GQ interview, and the resulting media circus, the cable network has officially reneged on its decision to bar the reality star from the highly-rated series.
A&E’s retraction comes shortly after a highly-publicized petition for “IStandWithPhil” reached its goal of 250,000 signatures, all calling for the network to lift the ban on Robertson, believing his comments on the sinful nature of homosexuality to be supported by the Bible, and protected from persecution under the 1st Amendment. In its lengthy statement, A&E acknowledged its own justifications for their swift reaction to the controversy, also touting the merit’s of the show’s familial nature:
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.