“Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson will return to work on A&E’s reality show despite his comments about gay immorality, the channel said Friday, reversing its decision to suspend him after facing a boycott backlash.
In a statement Friday, A&E said it was bringing Robertson back after discussions with his Louisiana family featured in the hit reality series and “numerous advocacy groups.”
Last week, the channel had put Robertson on what it called an indefinite “hiatus” because of his comments in a GQ magazine article that the Bible views gays as sinners akin to adulterers, prostitutes and swindlers.
While reiterating that Robertson’s views are not those of the channel, A&E noted Friday that he has publicly said he would “never incite or encourage hate.” The show itself is more than one man’s views, it added.
“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,” A&E said.
The Robertson family said it had no immediate comment Friday.
Robertson’s remarks in GQ were quickly slammed by groups including GLAAD, the gay rights watchdog organization. GLADD and Human Rights Campaign, another gay rights group, did not respond to requests for comment.
But A&E’s move against Robertson provoked a flood of support. Within a day, more than a half-million people liked an impromptu Facebook page demanding A&E be boycotted until he returns. A petition calling for A&E to bring him back reached 250,000 signatures and counting in about a week.
Jet Li treated for overactive thyroid
Jet Li says he’s being treated for an overactive thyroid, but he’s determined to fight the condition head-on.
The Chinese action star discussed his diagnosis during the taping of a talent show he’s judging in China. He said his weight has fluctuated but he’s taking it all in stride.
He explained that exercise is not advised with the medication he’s taking. An overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, causes changes in a person’s metabolism and heart rate, among other symptoms, but is generally treatable with medications.
Li was diagnosed in 2010. He kept his condition under control with medication, but it came back with a vengeance recently.
He said that he’s tackling his illness head-on. “I’m just a regular guy, I’m not Wong Fei Hung, I’m not Huo Yuan Jia (kung fu heroes he portrays on film), I’m not a hero. I’m just like you.”
Li confessed there are times he’s unsure if he’s able to carry on with work, but he’s determined. “I’m in pain, but I’m not suffering. I’m happy,” he said.
The birthday bunch
Comic book creator Stan Lee is 91. Actress Dame Maggie Smith is 79. Rock singer-musician Charles Neville is 75. Actor Denzel Washington is 59. Comedian Seth Meyers is 40. Rhythm-and-blues singer John Legend is 35. Pop singer David Archuleta (“American Idol”) is 23.
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