A&E announced they will resume filming with Phil Robertson after suspending him earlier in the month for his comments about homosexuality. There was no immediate response from Phil Robertson or the Duck Dynasty family to the A&E announcement.
The announcement came soon after several reports that momentum was building behind several efforts led by fans of the A&E show Duck Dynasty, as well as proponents of faith and traditional values, with one such effort planning to show their loyalty by holding a Phil Robertson appreciation day at Chick-fil-A franchises nationwide on January, 21.
There are no reports that the two developments are connected, but mounting pressure on A&E — who disgracefully ran repeats of the popular show all week-end, despite being “champions of the LGBT community” — finally caused them buckle under the pressure and the reality of their bottom line.
“Duck Dynasty” is the top-rated reality program on cable, with an average 13.4 million viewers and a marketing franchise in such outlets as Walmart, Sears and Cracker Barrel restaurants – which briefly removed the “Dynasty” items after Robertson’s suspension.
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.”
(Read More: The Real Reason(s) G.L.A.A.D. Attacked Phil Robertson Over GQ Comments)
There was a response from the Chick-Phil-A Day Facebook page, who posted a comment stating, “This is a win for us, but we’ve got a big battle ahead in the greater picture of this culture war being waged against us! But thus far, the event has not been called off.
According to the Chick-Phil-A Day Facebook page, Robertson supporters are encouraged to wear “Duck Commander or camouflage gear” to their local Chick-fil-A to “stand for free speech” and “sit for good food.”
The event already has over 28,000 likes and nearly 60,000 listed attendees since its creation on December, 20.
Robertson has been the target of a concerted media attack after making comments on homosexuality in a GQ magazine interview earlier this month. The scandal led to his indefinite suspension from A&E, which sparked blowback from proponents of faith and traditional values.
Chick-fil-A is no stranger to the national debate on gay marriage, as back in 2012 after its CEO Dan Cathy said in an interview that he is a firm backer of traditional marriage. His remarks led to both an outpouring of support and a strong backlash against the chain.
As protests against Chick-fil-A spread across the country, former Arkansas governor and Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee decided to hold a national Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day in support of Cathy’s stance on same-sex marriage.
The company also became host to the national debate on gun control back in September, when a Louisiana lawmaker hosted “Guns & Coffee” meet-ups at Chick-fil-A locations throughout the state.
The fast food franchise publicly stated that it was not associated with planning the pro-firearm events and is now working to distance itself from the upcoming Chick-Phil-A Day.
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