Just over a week after suspending Phil Robertson “indefinitely” from Duck Dynasty for an honest response he gave to questions about his faith, A&E surrendered. It has issued a statement announcing Robertson is back.
The statement was carried by the Orlando Sentinel, and it intimates the A&E Network, which is owned by Disney and the Hearst Corporation, took a beating for suspending Robertson in the first place.
Here’s the pertinent portion of A&E’s statement: “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.”
A&E then threw a bone to the “advocacy groups” that will no doubt be crushed by news that Robertson has been reinstated. They pointed out that “Phil’s comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey” and that A&E expressed “disappointment” in Phil’s comments when they were made. Moreover, they still do not share his views now.
Still, the bottom line is that regardless of what A&E says to provide cover for itself, Disney, or the Hearst Corporation, Robertson was reinstated only nine days after being indefinitely suspended. Throughout his suspension he did not cower down to A&E. Rather, he said he had simply quoted the Bible in his comments to GQ and made clear that he would not apologize for doing so.
Bill O’Reilly is a big loser here as well. He too kicked Robertson while he was down, criticizing him for quoting the Bible in a way that singled out one group of people.
Phil Robertson won. A&E, Disney, the Hearst Corporation, and O’Reilly lost — and lost big.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins.