American Family Association Applauds the Return of Phil Robertson to ‘Duck Dynasty’
By Mel Fabrikant Friday, January 03, 2014, 06:30 PM EST
AFA: America Spoke Up for Freedom of Speech and Phil’s Right to State His Bible-Based Beliefs
American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) is applauding the return of the duck-hunting, Bible-believing patriarch of the Robertson family, Phil, to the hit reality television show “Duck Dynasty.”
Last week, the A&E cable network announced that Robertson will continue to be a part of the series after suspending him on Dec. 18 for remarks he made in the January issue of “GQ” magazine on homosexuality.
Robertson’s temporary suspension will have no impact on the upcoming fifth season, set to debut on Jan. 15.
Soon after the announcement of Robertson’s suspension, American Family Association urged its supporters and viewers of “Duck Dynasty” to write letters to A&E through the AFA web site, which were then sent to A&E and the Robertson family. The web site IStandWithPhil.com also gathered 260,000 petition signatures supporting Robertson.
“We are encouraged to see that a family man who doesn’t mince words when it comes to his Bible-based beliefs has been reinstated and is able to film ‘Duck Dynasty’ with his family again,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “True tolerance doesn’t equal the punishment of those who disagree with the ‘politically correct’ way of thinking. In this case, Phil’s supporters were the vocal majority, and American Family Association thanks those who stood up for Phil, his freedom of speech and his religious liberties. We wish continued success to the Robertson family and look forward to many family-friendly episodes of ‘Duck Dynasty’ in the years to come.”
A&E released a statement on the matter that read: “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 homes, and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principles.
“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 misinterpretation 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.”
The Robertson family of West Monroe, La., found fame with their hand-made duck calls for lovers of the outdoors. “Duck Dynasty,” the No. 1 cable reality show with 14 million weekly viewers, always concludes with the family around the dinner table in prayer.
For more information on American Family Association, visit www.afa.net.