(NEW YORK) -- Following the controversy over its suspension of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson earlier this month, A&E, which airs the hit reality show, has now decided to reinstate him.
In a statement, A&E said, "After discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, [we have] decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family."
The network went on to say that it plans to "launch a national public service campaign 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."
A&E also defended its initial decision to suspend Robertson for comments he made to GQ magazine, in which he said that homosexuality is a sin, and equated it with bestiality.
"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," stated the network, adding that Robertson "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 statement added. "But 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. As you might have seen in many episodes, they come together to reflect and pray for unity, tolerance and forgiveness. These are three values that we at A&E Networks also feel strongly about."
(Editor's note: ABC is part owner of the A&E Network.)
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