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Phil Robertson Back on ‘Duck Dynasty’ After A&E Lifts Suspension

phil-robertson-p11In a move that shouldn’t surprise anyone because money talks louder than Phil Robertson’s hateful rhetoric, A&E has lifted its suspension of “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson.

The news comes nine days after Robertson was placed “under hiatus from filming indefinitely” due to the cast member’s controversial comments to a GQ magazine interviewer.

When the interviewer asked the reality TV star what he thought was sinful he said, “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.”

At one point he said  “it seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes!”

As CNN reports, here’s a portion of the network’s statement when announcing that Roberton is back on the show:

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.

(You can read A&E’s full statement here.

In what appears to be a nod toward the advocacy groups upset by Robertson’s hateful comments, A&E said it plans to broadcast public service announcements “promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people.”

You may remember, it wasn’t just Phil Roberton’s comments about gay people that outraged so many Americans. He also had a few, uh, choice words about the pre-civil rights era in his home state of Louisiana.

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once…Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field … They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’ — not a word! Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Uh… Okay.

Regardless of what an insensitive, ignorant dolt I think Robertson is, I don’t necessarily disagree with A&E’s move to put him back on the show. In fact, no filming was affected because one season’s worth of episodes featuring Robertson had already been taped and they haven’t started taping the 2014 season yet so A&E’s decision to suspend Robertson in the first place was largely symbolic. I doubt network leaders ever seriously considered ending the show. Mostly, I’m proud that A&E suspended him in the first place. It was a groundbreaking move that shows others that this kind of hateful rhetoric, regardless of your belief, will not be tolerated in society and there will be repercussions to those who chose to espouse opinions that perpetuate the belief that gay people shouldn’t have equal rights.

“It’s not really a reversal,” Fred Sainz, a representative of the Human Rights Campaign, told CNN. “We think it’s actually a positive outcome, and we want to thank A&E for their attentiveness and collaboration over the course of the last few weeks.”

As CNN notes, GLAAD isn’t as thrilled about A&E’s move declaring that “Phil Robertson should look African American and gay people in the eyes and hear about the hurtful impact of praising Jim Crow laws and comparing gay people to terrorists. If dialogue with Phil is not part of next steps then A+E has chosen profits over African American and gay people — especially its employees and viewers.”

Well, duh. Of course the network is choosing profits. They are, after all, a business. My only hope is that ratings for the show take a noticeable hit but, you know, whatever. I just want the old codger to take his freedom of speech elsewhere because I, for one, won’t be watching anymore now that I know what lies within his heart and mind.

Free speech or no, what’s in Phil Robertson isn’t happy, happy, happy, it’s sad, sad, sad and it’s too bad so many “Christians” are confusing freedom of speech with being a hateful human being.

 Image: college-football.si.com

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