That was fast! Just over one week after A&E announced they were placing Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson on an indefinite hiatus, the network announced today that they are welcoming him back on the show full-time.
"As a global media content company, A&E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect," the statement reads. "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."
A&E's statement continues, "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. 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 decision comes after much public outcry from fans who supported Robertson's statements. For example, a petition by a conservative Christian group had more than 250,000 signatures at last count. Fans also voted with their wallets, sending Robertson's book, Happy, Happy, Happy to #1 in several categories on Amazon.com, and giving their holiday album a 22% boost in the week after he was suspended by the show.
A&E also announced that they will launch a national PSA campaign "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."
Do you agree with their decision? Are you surprised they backtracked? Let us know in the comments!