Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson has been reinstated to the megahit cable show following a suspension from the A&E network. The Louisiana native had made controversial comments about gays and African-Americans in an interview in GQ magazine.
"It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me,” he said. “I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical," the family patriarch said in the interview.
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Later, he added: "I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person," Robertson is quoted in GQ. "Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy."
The controversial remarks resulted in a huge media firestorm, and A&E said that they were suspending Phil from the show. The Cracker Barrel restaurant chain also stopped selling Duck Dynasty-themed merchandise in their gift shops.
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However, just a week and a half after suspending Phil from the show, the network changed its mind and announced plans to immediately resume filming with the 67-year-old as part of the cast. This was after a petition to bring Phil back got more than 200,000 signatures online and a website called I Stand With Phil launched to defend the reality star. Reportedly, the rest of the Robertson family had refused to film without their beloved leader, which put the show's future in jeopardy.
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"Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man's views," A&E wrote in their official statement. "It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family … a family that America has come to love. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A+E Networks also feel strongly about. 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."
The network also announced that it would air PSAs about "unity" and "tolerance."