A&E backtrack on their suspension of 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson and announce he will be returning to the reality show despite his disparaging comments on homosexuality.
Television network A&E seem to have lifted the suspension on 'Duck Dynasty' cast member Phil Robertson despite controversy still surrounding his comments on homosexuality.
The Patriarch of the Robertson family will return to film the reality show next spring and will continue to feature the entire family.
The controversy began in the January issue of GQ magazine when Phil gave a candid interview on his beliefs and made some disparaging comments towards people in the gay community.
The 67 year-old quoted the bible and compared homosexuality to bestiality as well as expressing his beliefs that being gay is a sin.
Network officials released a statement, that The Hollywood Reporter obtained, on Friday (Dec 27th) explaining their change of heart over Phil's suspension.
"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.
"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 officials also stated that the network will use this opportunity to air public service announcements to air on the channel "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.'"
Phil received a huge backlash for these comments, even Charlie Sheen criticised the hunter turned reality star, but since the interview surfaced, a national debate has started over free speech and tolerance.
Phil will be joining his son's in spring to film the reality show