December 27, 2013 at 8:00 pm EST | by Michael Key
Phil Robertson reinstated in ‘Duck Dynasty’ reality show
Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty, gay news, Washington Blade

Phil Robertson (Photo courtesy of A&E)

A&E on Friday announced that it would resume filming of “Duck Dynasty” in the spring with the full cast of the reality television family, including embattled patriarch Phil Robertson.

The network had placed Robertson on an indefinite suspension on Dec. 18 after the reality star made anti-gay and racially insensitive comments during an interview with GQ magazine.

The media watchdog group GLAAD applauded the suspension with a statement from national spokesperson, actor Wilson Cruz.

“What’s clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike,” said Cruz. “By taking quick action and removing Robertson from future filming, A&E has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value.”

However, it now appears that Robertson will be joining the rest of his family in the popular reality series after all.

“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,” A&E announced in a statement to the press.

The network went on to state, “We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) 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.’ These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are among those who criticized A&E’s decision to suspend Robertson.

“I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment,” said Jindal in a statement last week. “It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”

Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, told the Washington Blade after A&E suspended Robertson that his comments “don’t surprise me because they reflect the reality that discrimination and bigotry persist in the South.”

“His comments reflect a climate of pervasive discrimination and bigotry for LGBT people in the South from cradle to grave,” said Beach-Ferrara. “People suffer because of this.”

Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign responded to questions from CNN about Phil Robertson’s reinstatement in the video below:

Michael K. Lavers contributed to this story.

Michael Key has worked as a photojournalist for the Washington Blade since 2009 and is currently serving as the photo editor. He has worked on Capitol Hill, in the White House, on the campaign trail and in cities along the East Coast taking iconic photos documenting the extension of marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and other events of interest to the LGBT community. Follow Michael

  • There is an element of Aesop's fables here. The little boy who tries for a whole handful of candy instead of one piece, and so cannot get his hand out of the jar. Apparently most of the country sees this as an attempt to silence people who have differing opinions, including even some gays like Harvey Levin and Camille Paglia. Maybe it would have been wiser to demand more dialogue and more speech. That might also have turned up more opinions – about other religious or ethnic groups, unmarried couples, etc. – which would have left Phil Robertson less sympathetic. I think the gay political class too often strokes wedge issues for fundraising and to cheerlead their base, but in a way that may actually have delayed for years marriage equality, adoption rights, and other issues, by antagonizing many voters.

  • A & E doesn’t have a large enough budget to cut Robertson’s successful programming and hence is employing standard diversionary tactics. Their open acceptance of such hate-found views from closed minded “Reborn Christians” on their own network is frightening.

  • Disney ABC Television owns 50% of A & E, so even though they pander to the gay community with shows like Modern Family, they at the same time shrewdly drive Duck Dynasty viewership by making a martyr out of Phil Robertson, while laughing all the way to the bank. Funny how GLAAD has given Disney a pass on this as well as A & E’s other owner Hearst Communications.

  • Does this Robertson have blood ties to Pat?

    I wonder if there is lice in that beard or long hair?

  • What all of these comment reflect is that he has a right to say what he wants and we have the right to disagree and turn the TV off!

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