As word spread of 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson's reinstatement on the show Friday following his suspension over statements about homosexuality, fans and foes of the move made their views known.
Advocacy group Faith Driven Consumer, which campaigned vigorously that Robertson’s suspension be dropped, issued this statement.
“Today’s decision by A&E to reinstate Phil Robertson to Duck Dynasty is in direct response to the powerful and engaged voices of millions of Faith Driven Consumers, as highlighted by more than 260,000 signers of the IStandWithPhil.com petition," the group wrote. “However, the question remains, has the Faith Driven Consumer community truly been heard?
“Despite our celebration, we remain uncertain of A&E’s true intent. Today, in the network’s statement of their core values – centered on ‘creativity, inclusion, and mutual respect’ – Faith Driven Consumers are left wondering whether A&E considers us to be a part of America’s rich rainbow of diversity. Do they also now embrace the biblically based values and world view held by the Robertson family and millions of Faith Driven Consumers?"
GLAAD, the advocacy group whose vocal condemnation of Robertson’s controversial comments to GQ magazine contributed to A&E’s decision to suspend the “Duck Dynasty” star, warned both the network and its reality star that they were none too pleased, and would be watching carefully the show's next steps.
“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," GLAAD said. "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.”
The Robertson clan steered clear of the controversy in an exclusive statement released to Foxnews.com, saying they were "excited to keep making a quality TV show for our dedicated fans, who have showed us wonderful support. We will continue to represent our faith and values in the most positive way through 'Duck Dynasty' and our many projects that we are currently working on.
"The outpouring of support and prayer has encouraged and emboldened us greatly."
In a statement released late Friday afternoon, A&E said, “While Phil's comments made in the (GQ) 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 misinterpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would ‘never incite or encourage hate.’"
The network added that “Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man's views. 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.”
“Duck Dynasty” is a huge money making enterprise for A&E which is co-owned by Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp. According to Forbes magazine the show has generated $400 million in merchandise sales and $80 million in ad sales for the first nine months of this year.