According to The Hollywood Reporter, the “indefinite hiatus” of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson is over — and because it coincided with a holiday break in production, he will still appear in all episodes of the upcoming fifth season.
In a statement to the Reporter, A&E said that “Phil’s comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey, [and that] 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 then stated 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.”
“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,” the statement concluded.
A&E’s initial response to Robertson equating homosexuality with bestiality and claiming that blacks in the South were never “singing the blues” before the Civil Rights Movement were applauded by LGBT and black activists. However, its subsequent actions seemed to indicate that a reconciliation was always at hand.
Not only has the network continued to show re-runs of the top-rated cable reality program, it aired a Christmas Day marathon of the show’s fourth season.