Cracker Barrel has reversed its decision to pull "Duck Dynasty" items from its shelves due to customer backlash.
The reversal comes just 48 hours after the Southern country store and restaurant chain announced it would be removing the items following the anti-gay comments made by cast member Phil Robertson last week
. What followed was an online barrage of negative posts to Cracker Barrel's social media accounts.
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"When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain 'Duck Dynasty' items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that's just what we've done," the company wrote on Facebook Sunday
. "You flat out told us we were wrong. We listened."
ABC News reported that Cracker Barrel
was the first major retailer to weigh in on the controversy since Robertson's remarks were published in the GQ magazine last Tuesday.
"People weren't shy. They wrote, called and took to social media," company spokesman Jeff Eller told ABC News with regards to its decision to go back on its original pledge to axe "selected products" from its stores.
"Today, we are putting all our 'Duck Dynasty' products back in our stores. And we apologize for offending you," the Cracker Barrel Facebook post continued. "We respect all individuals' right to express their beliefs. We certainly did not mean to have anyone think different. We sincerely hope you will continue to be part of our Cracker Barrel family."
Robertson, the 67-year-old patriarch whose A&E reality series revolves around a Louisiana family that made its fortune with products for duck hunters, compared homosexuality to bestiality in the GQ interview
"[You] start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there — bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men," he said. "It seems like, to me a woman would be more desirable [than a man]. That's just me."
A&E subsequently decided to suspend Robertson and put him on an indefinite hiatus
. Gay rights organizations such as GLAAD reacted to the anti-gay statements, saying they were not reflective of how "true Christians" view gays, considering "Phil and his family claim to be Christian."
On Thursday, the Robertson family issued a statement
thanking fans for their "prayers and support," while expressing disappointment with A&E for its decision to suspend Robertson, adding that they "cannot imagine" the show without him and are "in discussions" with the network about its future.
"While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible," the family statement read in part
. "Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Phil would never incite or encourage hate."
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The show's future on A&E remains uncertain.
Now in its fourth season on A&E, "Duck Dynasty" is one of the most popular reality TV shows, drawing 9.6 million viewers with its Season 3 finale earlier in the year.
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