GLAAD has blasted A&E’s decision to reinstate “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson after a brief suspension, resulting from anti-gay remarks made by the reality star.
On Friday, the cable network announced it was bringing Robertson back to the hit reality series, less than two weeks after putting the TV personality on suspension – and GLAAD quickly admonished the announcement.
“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,” the statement from GLAAD noted. “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.”
On December 18, A&E announced it was putting Robertson on suspension, after his remarks in an interview with GQ made national headlines. At the time, A&E stated that the reality patriarch’s “personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community,” and they placed Robertson “under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”
Now, Robertson will return to the show, with A&E explaining that “Duck Dynasty” is not about “one man’s views.”
“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 mis-interpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would ‘never incite or encourage hate,’” the network said in a statement. “We at A&E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold.”
A&E said the decision to bring Robertson back was made after consulting with “numerous advocacy groups,” and speaking with the Robertson family.
The network also promised to launch a public service campaign to promote “unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people.”
Robertson will return to the “Duck Dynasty” fold when filming resumes in the spring.