December 19th, 2013
12:18 PM ET
8 months ago

Palin, Cruz, Jindal: 'Duck Dynasty' star suspended over intolerance of politically correct

Updated 4:17 p.m., 12/19/2013

(CNN) - In light of "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson suspension from the show over anti-gay remarks, Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal indicated media outlets have thrown out the First Amendment and the "politically correct crowd" is only concerned with viewpoints they agree with.

GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and former Alaska governor and 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin also weighed in on TV reality star's forced leave from the series.

Palin wrote in a post to her Facebook page that "Free speech is an endangered species."

"Those 'intolerants' hatin' and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us," Palin, who met the series' cast while on a book tour in Louisiana, wrote on Facebook, along with a photo of her and the cast of the A&E series.

Sarah Palin meets 'Duck Dynasty' 'dudes'

Cruz, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, also defended Robertson in a post to his Facebook page titled: "Free Speech Matters"

"The reason that so many Americans love Duck Dynasty is because it represents the America usually ignored or mocked by liberal elites: a family that loves and cares for each other, believes in God, and speaks openly about their faith," Cruz said.

"Duck Dynasty" is about a family-run duck call fabrication business in Louisiana. Robertson is the patriarch of the family. Season 5 is set to premiere on January 15.

Jindal - who is term-limited as governor and considering a 2016 GOP bid for the White House - praised Robertson and his family as "great citizens of the State of Louisiana."

"The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with," Jindal said in a statement.

Jindal goes on to say that while he doesn't agree with everything he reads or sees in the media, First Amendment rights to freedom of speech should be upheld consistently across popular culture.

"In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment," he said. "It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended."

A&E suspended Robertson after comments he made to GQ in their January issue of their magazine that homosexuality is a sin and puts it in the same category as bestiality and promiscuity. He also made controversial comments about race relations during his time growing up in the South.

Groups like NAACP and the Human Rights Campaign wrote a joint letter to the president of the network calling for the TV star to step down.

"We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty," the network said in a statement Wednesday.

Robertson's suspension has prompted outrage among fans and calls for the network to bring the star back.

Former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said A&E's decision is "insulting" to Americans who hold similar beliefs.

"For this network to toss Phil Robertson off of TV because he believed something and said what he believed, this network is insulting and snobbing the millions of Americans who hold the same view, albeit perhaps expressed in less graphic terms."

Ralph Reed, chairman of the conservative group Faith and Freedom Coalition, called the suspension "a brazen act of anti-Christian bigotry."

“To suspend Robertson under these circumstances is sanctioning him for holding Christian faith and beliefs, and it is a sign of a broader intolerance, bigotry, and discrimination against Christians that has no place in America," Reed said.

Nearly 40,000 people have signed a Change.org petition as of Thursday morning rallying support to bring Robertson back, and a faith-based group, Faith Driven Consumer, launch a website IStandWithPhil.com demanding the network reinstate the "Duck Dynasty" star.

"Simply put, Phil Robertson is being censored and punished for quoting the Bible, and A&E's treatment of him is punitive and highly discriminatory, " said Faith Driven Consumer Founder Chris Stone.

The group tells CNN they have about 30,000 signatures on their petition as of Thursday afternoon and expect those numbers to rise.

CNN's Marlena Baldacci contributed to this report.


Filed under: Bobby Jindal • Sarah Palin
soundoff (459 Responses)
  1. Buford T Justice

    This is the free market at work - A&E made a business decision. Why do Jindal and Palin want to interfere with the free market?

    December 19, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    I guess it comes as a shock to realize that free speech also means taking responsibility.

    December 19, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    @Doug in NYC: "Where was Palins and Piyush Jindal defense of the free speech The Dixie Chicks displayed? Oh right I forgot, Do as I say Not as I do......."

    Excellent!!!!

    December 19, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. Denise

    Those clowns always go down the path of bestiality. I wish right wing nutjobs would keep their fantasies to themselves. Take one look at this dude and you suspect what he stands for. Opening his mouth eliminates all doubt!

    December 19, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. SLS0463

    His first amendment rights have not been compromised. Please understand the first amendment. Unfortunately Ms. Palin does not.

    December 19, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. Sean

    Free speech is not under attack and it is ridiculous to suggest as such. No one is being thrown in jail for this. However, just as this star has his right to say his thoughts, everyone else has the right to voice their disagreement and their own opinions. It is the choice of the network to decide whether or not his views reflect their own and those of their target audiences and to make their own hiring decisions accordingly, which they did.

    December 19, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    The Quitta's daughter had a child out of wedlock – what's the duckies' feeling on fornication? Seems like that's a hell-worthy offense, too ... right?

    December 19, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. anonymous

    And yet the leftist entirely endorse and embrace hate speech if it is directed at their opponents, such as Christians, gun owners, conservatives, etc. This is the way the far left crowd controls people, controls the debate and silences their critics and people with opposing points of view. Wake up America and demand your First Amendment rights!!! Don't left the radical left wing control you.

    December 19, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. John127

    Typical BS! My bet Phil has gone hunting and has forgot all about it. The media should do the same.

    December 19, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    I'm guessing many of Phil Robertson's Christian followers here on the ticker haven't read his comments in full. It is not quite the language one would expect of a "godly" man professing to follow in Christ's footsteps.

    December 19, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. Malory Archer

    Laurie Longey-Greenia

    Phil is right based on the Bible.And he should not be punished for using his God given constitutionally gauranteed rights!Gays don't like it, move.Alot of things i don't like but others still have the RIGHT voice their opinions,no matter what i like.Deal with it.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Well, you know "freedom of speech" is seldom free, and this guy is about to see the light. Yes, he does have the right to his opinion, just as his employer has the right to protect his shareholders from the backlash resulting from that speech. In business, $$$ is king!

    December 19, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. just asking

    i hope the rest of the duck dynasty crowd just tells these clowns to take a hike with their show. it is not like they need their money. they already have the celebrity status they need to take their show to another network that would love the viewers.

    December 19, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Kathy Finklea

    Phil Robertson does not represent a&e in my opinion. He represents himself on this show. I will not watch this show if he is not there. I hope the rest of the family tells a&e to shove it and leaves too.

    December 19, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. SLS0463

    Again – For those of you saying his first amendment rights have been compromised are wrong. Please understand the amendment.

    December 19, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. Kieran

    Yeah, he has a right to say it, but the network has the right to suspend him. A lot of people are acting like he was arrested by the government or something. No. He was kicked out by a private business. You don't have the right of free speech in a private business. If a private business doesn't like what you said, they have the right to fire you.

    December 19, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. anonymous

    Free speech? What is that? No one can give an opinion or belief in this country without one group or another being offended. Ridiculous!!

    December 19, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. John, PA

    Ok; so the LGBT minority (less that 2% of the population) and A&E executives had their say.

    Now it’s time for the rest of America to speak and to make sure the executives at A&E hear us. The rest of America (98% plus of the population); pick up your television remote control and lock out the A&E channel unit you hear in the media that the Phil Robertson suspension has been retracted and an official A&E apology has been issue to Phil Robertson suspension.

    Let’s see how those that advertise on A&E like the drop in viewers.

    December 19, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. clifford mitchem

    I think it is a shame when you can watch all these programs with people almost nude cursing and using the LORDS name in vain and then if someone wants pray or says something about what people are doing is a sin and then want to ban them from TV if all these people that are complaining and don't believe in God should have nothing to worry about when people want to serve god even on TV.

    December 19, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    who in the wide world of sports is the duck dynasty guy? Who are these people?

    December 19, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. M'lynn

    Again the GOP hypocrites proves that "free speech" only counts when it is in their corner. He can say whatever he wants and the network can suspend him for it as long as they want. If he wants to pay for his own production, he can spout all the hate he wants with a certain level of impunity. Since he doesn't and is dependent on A&E and their sponsors, he made a dumb decision and should accept the consequences instead of whining.

    December 19, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. Tommy G

    Why doesn't A&E ask the viewers of Duck Dynasty what they think of the remarks? I bet the vast majority of them agree with them. So what is A&E afraid of? So this says the haters on the left can use their tactics to shut down anybody that doesn't agree with them, and A&E fully supports that tactic. Time to forget about tuning into anything on A&E.

    December 19, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. smith

    Pat should have known better. I don`t watch the show, but it seems alot of folks do and A&E ratings will suffer. We have seen this before with Chik-fil-a and it only made them stronger.

    December 19, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. Joe Freedom

    Gays are only like 3-5% of the population and demographically the amount of people who would have been offended by his comments who watch Duck Dynasty could be even less.

    This was not about sponsors removing their sponsorship. This is about the set of values that are held by those who dominate institutions like the media and the public school system

    Not every decision they make is even tied to finance. So although Duck Dynasty even with limited controversy could still bring in more ratings and more revenue than the rest of their lineup without it, they are fine with that

    Just like Hollywood makes far more Rated R movies than G movies even though Rated R movies don't make nearly as much money as G rated movies.

    At some level it's not about money it's all about their desire to push their system of values on the American public be it through the education system or entertainment system.

    December 19, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. anchorite

    One of the core problems of the right wing is that they constantly confuse consumer choice with freedom, in every possible way. The think if I can choose from 30 trucks to buy in the US and France has only 5 then America is a freer nation than France. And yet they'll say if I exercise my right not to buy cable to help spread some guy's bigotry on a national privately owned cable network then I'm taking away his First Amendment right to freedom of speech!

    December 19, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. Thomas

    Jindal , Palin and "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson are currently finalizing a movie contract regarding the remake of the 1972 Blockbuster film " Deliverance ".

    Palin will play the part of "Burt" Reynolds.

    December 19, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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