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Duck Dynasty merch back at Cracker Barrel

Phil Robertson spoke out for the first time Sunday, standing by his comments in a GQ interview that have ignited a national controversy.
Posted By Gabrielle Levy   |   Dec. 23, 2013 at 10:29 AM   |   Comments

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Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Cracker Barrel has returned Duck Dynasty-branded items to its shelves after customer outrage prompted the restaurant chain to reverse its decision to pull the items in the face of comments made by the reality family's patriarch.

"Our intent was to avoid offending, but that's just what we've done," the company announced. "Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores."

"You told us we made a mistake," Cracker Barrel said. "And, you weren't shy about it."

The restaurant, which sells everything from quilts and pillows to remote-controlled helicopters in its "Old Country" stores at its 600 restaurant locations, shied away from the implication that it was denying "all individuals right to express their beliefs."

The furor began after Phil Robertson, head of the family starring in the A&E show, made comments in an interview with GQ that blamed homosexuality as the cause of sin, as well as claimed African-Americans were better off in the Jim Crow south than they are today.

A&E quickly placed him on indefinite hiatus, but others, led by Sarah Palin and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, defended Robertson, claiming (incorrectly) that the network was violating Robertson's First Amendment rights.

The rest of the Robertson family then said they would not return to the show to film new episodes without their Patriarch, but the fifth season, premiering on January 15, has already been filmed and A&E said they plan to air the episodes with Robertson in them.

Robertson stood by his comments, breaking his silence for the first time at a Bible study class on Sunday.

"I will not give or back off from my path, because you conquered death, Father, so we are not worried about all the repercussions," Robertson said. "I love all men and women. I am a lover of humanity, not a hater."

"We are a bunch of rednecks from Louisiana, but I am not uneducated, I have a degree from Louisiana Tech," he went on. "But this week I have been called an ignoramus. This week I have been asked, 'Is this the first time you have brought up sin?' I said, 'Are you kidding? I have been traveling to and fro spreading this message'."


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