LOS ANGELES — “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson will return to work on A&E’s reality show despite his comments about gay immorality, the channel said Friday, reversing its decision to suspend him after facing a boycott backlash.
A&E said Friday it was bringing Robertson back after discussions with his Louisiana family featured in the hit reality series and “numerous advocacy groups.”
Last week, the channel had put Robertson on what it called an indefinite “hiatus” because of his comments in a GQ magazine article that the Bible views gays as sinners akin to adulterers, prostitutes and swindlers.
A&E said it decided to drop Robertson from the show about a wealthy family that makes duck calls because it is part of a company whose core values are “centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect.”
While reiterating that Robertson’s views are not those of the channel, A&E noted Friday that he has publicly said he would “never incite or encourage hate.”
Robertson’s remarks in GQ were quickly slammed by groups including GLAAD, the gay-rights watchdog organization. GLADD did not immediately respond Friday to requests for comment, nor did the Human Rights Campaign, another gay- rights group.
But A&E’s move against Robertson provoked a flood of support from those who share his views and others who defended his freedom of speech.
Within a day, more than a half-million people liked a Facebook page demanding A&E be boycotted until he returns. A petition calling for A&E to bring him back reached 250,000 signatures and counting in about a week.
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