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 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.