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Phil Robertson to return with family to 'Duck Dynasty'

Dec. 27, 2013 at 8:04 PM   |   Comments

BATON ROUGE, La., Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Phil Robertson will appear alongside his family when their Louisiana-set reality show "Duck Dynasty" starts shooting in early 2014, A&E said Friday.

Robertson, 67, had been suspended from the series after he made comments in a magazine interview, offending the gay and African-American communities, however, many fans rushed to defend his right to express his opinions and his family insisted they would not return to the show without him.

The cable television network issued a statement Friday saying it plans to resume filming later this spring "with the entire Robertson family," People.com reported.

"'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," A&E said.

"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," the statement said. "He also made it clear he would 'never incite or encourage hate.'"

The network also vowed to air public service announcements during broadcasts "promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people."

A&E put Robertson on hiatus Dec. 18 after GQ published the interview, in which he said right and wrong has become "blurred" -- starting with "homosexual behavior."

"Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men," he said, citing Corinthians in the Old Testament. "Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won't inherit the kingdom of God."

Robertson also told the GQ interviewer African-Americans in his home state of Louisiana were happy during the Jim Crow era prior to the Civil Rights era.

"I hoed cotton with them," he said. "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!"

Citing Nielsen ratings data, Adweek reported Thursday A&E experienced "a significant downturn" in its audience after announcing Robertson's suspension.

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