"As a global media content company, A+E Networks' core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect," a statement from the network 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. 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."
Duck Dynasty will resume filming later this spring with all members of the Robertson family. The fifth season of the reality show will not be affected by Robertson's minor suspension, since he didn't miss any filming.
Shortly after A&E announced that it had reinstated the Duck Dynasty patriarch, GLAAD released a statement taking a tough stance on the network's actions and Robertson's comments. "Phil Robertson should look African American and gay people in the eyes and hear about the hurtful impact of praising Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists," read a statement released by GLAAD Thursday. "If dialogue with Phil is not part of next steps then A+E has chosen profits over African American and gay people — especially its employees and viewers."
In the interview with GQ, Robertson discussed how he views homosexuality as a sin, even comparing it to bestiality. And though he issued a statement saying he didn't mean to disrespect anyone, the Duck Dynasty patriarch has stood by his remarks. Over the weekend, Robertson continued to promote his anti-gay views in a Louisiana Bible study. Robertson has also come under fire for racist comments he's made, including the idea that black Americans were perfectly happy before the civil rights movement.
A+E quickly put Robertson on filming hiatus after the controversy broke and fans began an online petition to bring back the star. One week later and the network has decided to give the fans what they're asking for. In the statement released Friday, A+E explains, "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."
In its statement Thursday, A&E also added that it plans on using this recent firestorm as an opportunity to launch a national public service 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."
What do you think of A+E's decision?