Despite putting him on "hiatus" earlier this month, A&E is bringing back Phil Robertson, the patriarch of Duck Dynasty who said some really horrible things about gay people, back to the show.
In a statement via Deadline, the network said that the show will begin to film with Robertson this coming spring. Their defense was as such:
...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.
Which essentially boils down to: America loves Duck Dynasty ,and the show gets us huge ratings so: sorry, Robertson's back on.
Robertson became the source of headlines for his homophobic comments in the January issue of GQ. Robertson said, for instance: "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men..." In the aftermath of those comments and A&E's subsequent suspension of Robertson, a variety of GOPers—from Sarah Palin, to Bobby Jindal, to whoever Ian Bayne is—jumped to Robertson's defense on the grounds of free speech. In the article, Robertson also shared his belief that black people in pre-Civil Rights Louisiana were perfectly happy.
But they have no cause for concern anymore. Robertson basically received no punishment for saying hateful things—he didn't miss any filming—and the network will get its coveted ratings juggernaut back.