(KMOV) -- A new episode of Duck Dynasty will return to the A&E airwaves Wednesday for the first time since patriarch Phil Robertson was suspended from the reality show after his comments about gay immorality.
The fifth season premiere, which promises new faces and adventures for the Robertson family, comes on the heels of A&E Network’s decision to drop plans to suspend Robertson for his comments about gays and African-Americans. The network’s handling of the situation has garnered much criticism.
The network had initially 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.
A&E said it decided to drop Robertson from the show about a wealthy family that makes duck calls because it is part of a company whose core values are “centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect.”
Robertson’s remarks were quickly slammed by groups including GLAAD, the gay rights watchdog organization. But A&E’s move against Robertson provoked a flood of support from those who share his views and others who defended his freedom of speech.
A petition calling for A&E to bring him back reached more than 250,000 signatures in about a week.