The parent company of cable network A&E announced Friday that it has reinstated Phil Robertson, the suspended star of the reality series Duck Dynasty. Filming will resume in the spring.
Robertson had been placed on indefinite filming hiatus Dec. 18 following comments he made denigrating homosexuality to GQ magazine. Noting that Duck Dynasty “is not a show about one man’s views,” A+E Networks said in a statement, “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.”
The decision last week to suspend Robertson drew praise from equal-rights advocacy organizations such as GLAAD, but sparked criticism from Christian conservatives, who organized movements of support such as the #IStandWithPhil campaign, which collected more than 250,000 signatures on an online petition to have Robertson returned to the show. Robertson’s family members issued a statement the day after his suspension saying that they “could not imagine the show going forward” without him.
Duck Dynasty’s season four premiere on Aug. 14 drew a 5.0 rating among adults 18-49 and 11.77 million total viewers.
In a GQ article published earlier this month, Robertson described homosexuality as a gateway to sex with animals and vaginal intercourse with a woman as being favorable to anal intercourse with a man. He added, “But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”