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All is Ducky Between Duck Dynasty, A&E and Phil Robertson

(A&E)

“Duck Dynasty” will continue with Phil Robertson. The A&E network announced this afternoon that Robertson will not miss a single episode of the upcoming season and he will be included in production when shooting resumes this spring.

Robertson was suspended over comments that he made during an interview with GQ. But the network suffered a huge backlash from “Duck Dynasty” fans who claimed that A&E limited Robertson’s right to free speech.

A&E was placed in a difficult position: “Duck Dynasty” is one of the most popular shows on cable, but doing nothing would appear to be insensitive. Then, after Robertson was suspended, the rest of the Robertson family said that they couldn’t imagine doing the show without their patriarch.

Today, A&E explained why it had abandoned that decision.

“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,” the network said. “He also made it clear he would ‘never incite or encourage hate.’ 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 spoke with both GLAAD and the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition, both of which objected to Robertson’s remarks.

An online petition supporting Robertson gained 250,000 signatures in a week.

Here’s the full statement from A&E:

As a global media content company, A+E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s home and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principals.

That is why we reacted so quickly and strongly to a recent interview with Phil Robertson.  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.”  We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold.

But 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.

We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found in Duck Dynasty. These PSAs will air across our entire portfolio.

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