In a move that shocked the media world and cheered fans of one of the most popular reality television shows ever produced, the A&E network reversed its decision to suspend family patriarch Phil Robertson from future episodes of Duck Dynasty after he made remarks about homosexuality that offended some.
In a recent interview with GQ magazine, Robertson wondered why a man would be sexually attracted to another man and called homosexuality a sin akin to bestiality and adultery.
"It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes!" he told GQ.
Shortly after Robertson's remarks were made public, the A&E network issued a statement suspending the waterfowling mogul from further episodes of the show, citing comments from gay rights groups that called for advertiser boycotts.
But little more than a week later, the network lifted Robertson's suspension, bending to a wave of support and various petitions calling for his return.
"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 said in a statement.
While other Duck Dynasty cast members called Robertson's remarks "course," the tight-nit group rallied behind their patriarch with Duck Commander CEO Willie Robertson tweeting Friday, "so proud of all the fans of the show and family. Ole Phil may be a little crude but his heart is good. He's the Real Deal!"
The show — which will launch its 5th season in 2014 — has earned A&E about $80 million in advertising revenue in 2013 and averages nearly 15 million viewers per episode, according to Bloomberg News.