A&E Bows to Right Wing Pressure and Reverses Decision on ’Duck Dynasty’ Patriarch
"Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson will return to work on A&E’s reality show despite his comments about gay immorality, the channel said Friday, reversing its decision to suspend him after facing a backlash and threatened boycott.
In a statement Friday, A&E said it was bringing Robertson back after discussions with his Louisiana family featured in the reality series and "numerous advocacy groups."
Last week, the channel had put Robertson on what it called an indefinite "hiatus" because of his comments in a GQ magazine article that the Bible views gays as sinners akin to adulterers, prostitutes and swindlers.
A&E said it decided to drop Robertson from the show about a wealthy family that makes duck calls because it is part of a company whose core values are "centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect."
Robertson’s remarks were quickly slammed by groups including GLAAD, the gay rights watchdog organization. But A&E’s move against Robertson provoked a flood of support from those who share his views and others who defended his freedom of speech.
A petition calling for A&E to bring him back reached 250,000 signatures and counting in about a week.
Robertson’s well-known supporters included former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who complained that his free-speech rights were being trampled. Bobby Jindal, governor of the state of Louisiana, complained that Miley Cyrus got a pass for twerking on TV while Phil got shown the door.