Less than two weeks after making a move to suspend Phil Robertson from “Duck Dynasty,” A&E made a big decision on Friday: They are reversing their decision, and many of the fears surrounding the possible end of the smash hit series have now vanished.
Not only will Phil be featured during the fifth season of the show, but he will not have missed a single day of filming. Since it has been the holiday season, the family has been off celebrating rather than in front of the cameras, and this clearly marks a big win on their part and for the show’s fans. Over 250,000 people signed a petition demanding that Robertson be reinstated after he made a series of controversial remarks to GQ about sexuality and race relations, and they also spoke out with their pocketbooks. The “Duck Dynasty” Christmas album ended up being the fourth-biggest album of the past week, more than any other holiday release.
In a statement explaining their decision, the network suggested that there has been some show of remorse on the family’s part for the way in which the comments came across, and that they are going to work with them moving forward in order to make sure that a message of tolerance, regardless of one’s religious beliefs, is enforced greatly:
“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. These are three values that we at A+E Networks also feel strongly about.”
We would of course be speaking facetiously were we to sit here and say that ratings did not have some sort of role in this decision. There is a ton of money that is on the line for both A&E and the family, and if the move was not made to bring Phil back on board the show, there would probably be an even greater mountain of drama that would have come early in the new year.
The new season of “Duck Dynasty” is set to premiere on A&E on Wednesday, January 15, and it will use footage filmed prior to this controversy and the backlash to it. In the future, there will be a series of public service announcements airing on the network about respecting everyone, which may have the family involved.
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