“Duck Dynasty” and its suspended patriarch Phil Robertson are flying again.
A&E has lifted its suspension of Robertson, which was imposed following his inflammatory remarks on gays and blacks in an interview for GQ magazine.
In a statement from the network, executives said that while “Phil’s comments … reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey, he and his family regret the coarse language he used and the misinterpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article.”
“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.”
The network suspended “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson Dec. 18 after a controversial interview he gave GQ magazine, in which he called homosexuality a sin, lumping it in with bestiality and promiscuity, among other things.
A&E was quick to distance itself from the comments.
“We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty,” the network said in a statement Wednesday. “His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”
The network’s move drew widespread ire, though. Fans threatened to boycott the network, and an Alabama lawmaker even promised to introduce a resolution backing Robertson.
The firestorm made its way into Lebanon when Cracker Barrel said it pulled some “Duck Dynasty” merchandise from its stores over concerns it might offend guests.
“Cracker Barrel’s mission is Pleasing People,” the company said on its Facebook page. “We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture. We continue to offer Duck Commander products in our stores. We removed selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests while we evaluate the situation. We continually evaluate the products we offer and will continue to do so.”
Within days, however, Cracker Barrel recanted its plans, and “Duck Dynasty” products returned to its shelves.
“We made a mistake, we listened to you, and we apologize. “#DuckDynasty products are back in our stores,” Cracker Barrel tweeted with a link to its Facebook page.
“You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren't shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong,” Cracker Barrel said on its Facebook page Sunday. “We listened. Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores. And, we apologize for offending you. We respect all individuals right to express their beliefs. We certainly did not mean to have anyone think different. We sincerely hope you will continue to be part of our Cracker Barrel family.”
Greg Braxton from Los Angeles Times contributed to this report via MCT.