Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson says his father Phil is "the real deal" whose heart is in the right place, despite the "crude" comments that got him suspended.
Willie expressed that sentiment via Twitter after A&E announced they were lifting Phil’s suspension and that the show would be filmed and air on schedule.
The family patriarch came under fire for controversial anti-gay comments in a GQ interview in which he also made eyebrow-raising quotes about race.
But that’s just Phil being Phil, implied Willie, the second youngest of Robertson's four sons and the CEO of the company he founded, Duck Commander.
“Back to work!!! So proud of all the fans of the show and family,” Willie wrote. “Ole Phil may be a little crude but his heart is good. He's the Real Deal!”
The graphic nature of his comments caught the attention of many critics, and advocacy group GLAAD fired back at the reality star almost immediately.
GLAAD released another statement following the announcement of Phil’s return to the show, letting A&E know that they were none too pleased:
“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.”
The Robertson clan steered clear of the controversy, telling Fox News that they're "excited to keep making a quality TV show for our dedicated fans."
"We will continue to represent our faith and values in the most positive way through Duck Dynasty and our many projects that we are currently working on."
"The outpouring of support and prayer has encouraged and emboldened us greatly."
A&E said the Robertsons "regret the ‘coarse language’ [Phil Robertson] used and the misinterpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article."
He also made it clear, A&E said, that "he would ‘never incite or encourage hate.’"
The network added that Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man's views, but resonates with a large audience. It's also a venerable cash cow.
According to Forbes, the show has generated over $400 million in merchandise sales and $80 million in ad sales for the first nine months of 2013.
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