UPDATED: GLAAD, the advocacy group whose swift reaction condemning Phil Robertson‘s controversial comments to GQ contributed to A&E‘s decision to suspend the Duck Dynasty star on Dec. 18, and Faith Driven Consumers, the organization behind the IStandWithPhil.com petition, have issued statements in response to A&E’s decision today to lift Robertson’s suspension. GLAAD did not appear especially pleased with the network’s decision, making it clear it doesn’t condone Robertson’s comments on gay relationships and Black Americans’ lives pre-Civil Rights, calling for a dialogue and urging A&E parent A+E Networks not to choose “profits over African American and gay people.” For A&E, co-owned by Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp., Duck Dynasty has been the biggest revenue driver, generating some $400 million in merchandise sales, according to Forbes, and bagging $80 million in ad sales for the first nine months of this year alone.
Related: A&E Lifts Phil Robertson’s Suspension; ‘Duck Dynasty’ To Resume Filming In Spring
Meanwhile, North Carolina-based Faith Driven Consumer took credit for Robertson’s reinstatement, which the group claims “is in direct response to the powerful and engaged voices of millions of Faith Driven Consumers, as highlighted by more than 260,000 signers of the IStandWithPhil.com petition.” The organization also insists it should be part of any dialogue A&E would have with advocacy groups and urges A&E to “embrace of our biblically based values and deeply held beliefs.” Here are the two statements:
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. 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.
Today’s decision by A&E to reinstate Phil Robertson to Duck Dynasty is in direct response to the powerful and engaged voices of millions of Faith Driven Consumers, as highlighted by more than 260,000 signers of the IStandWithPhil.com petition.
“However, the question remains, has the Faith Driven Consumer community truly been heard?
“Despite our celebration, we remain uncertain of A&E’s true intent. Today, in the network’s statement of their core values – centered on ‘creativity, inclusion, and mutual respect’ – Faith Driven Consumers are left wondering whether A&E considers us to be a part of America’s rich rainbow of diversity.
“Do they also now embrace the biblically based values and worldview held by the Robertson family and millions of Faith Driven Consumers?
“Did the network’s engagement and consultation with ‘numerous advocacy groups’ include Faith Driven Consumers? We eagerly anticipate A&E’s naming of those groups to ensure that our community was included.
“Faith Driven Consumers will remain vigilant as we measure whether A&E’s actions reflect true tolerance, diversity, and mutual respect – including their equal embrace of our biblically based values and deeply held beliefs.