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A&E Lifts Phil Robertson “Duck Dynasty” Suspension Caused by Anti-Gay Comments

“Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson will return to star in the popular A&E reality series after the network decided to lift a suspension dealt over anti-gay remarks made less than two weeks ago.

A&E had suspended Robertson following a GQ interview in which he condemned homosexuals as “not right,” comparing homosexuality to bestiality. He also commented on black people in the Jim Crow South, saying that “they were happy” and “no one was singing the blues.”

“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,” A&E Television Networks LLC said in a statement. “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.”

The network also added it will air PSAs reflecting its views. “We will also use this moment to launch a national public service campaign (PSA) promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people, a message that supports our core values as a company, and the values found in Duck Dynasty.”

Gay rights advocacy group GLAAD questioned A&E’s support for gay rights and equality in a statement issued following the lift. “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,” said the statement. “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.”

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Gary Bryan is an industrial marketing manager by daytime and political and social issues writer by night. You can also find his editorials at Mic.com.