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. RonL

    I can't understand WHAT IS WRONG WITH MANY AMERICANS... The First Amendment says YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY THINGS!!! It does not say THERE WILL BE NO CONSEQUENCES to what you say!!! In the last three weeks Martin Bashir was taken off the air because he EXPRESSED what he felt about Gov. Palin and I don't recall her demanding he get his job back!!! Could all of you people who claim to be defending the Constitution, stop distorting it !!! Governor Jindal should frankly be ashamed of himself he knows the ONLY way this would have been a First Amendment issue is if Mr. Robertson had been thrown in jail for what he said.

    December 19, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    Every business has a code of conduct: Phil signed a contract that means he is obligated to present himself in a certain manner. As a businessman, I would have thought he understood that. Now, as a result of him being a little too open abut his beliefs, he's suspended, and the Right is screaming about PC again. Its not PC, its being a responsible employee.

    December 19, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. JHL

    Phil has a 1st Amendment right to make racist, homophobic comments, but he doesn't have a constitutional right to be on a TV show.

    I assume he's applauding the rights of an employer to be able to suspend and/or fire an employee for any or no reason.

    December 19, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. Mike Mazz

    They have their right to say what they want without legal reprocussions..but it doesnt mean their employer has to tolerate it..

    December 19, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. wendel

    If palin says it, it must be so. He has the right to say what he wants and the network or company has the right to suspend him. Get over it. Give us all a break you lived all these years in the south and saw no bigotry???? Really I see it in the repo party daily. He is such a good Christian that he has hurt a whole group of people and can't see that.

    December 19, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. TC

    Too Many Monday morning quarterbacks and arm chair analyzers. It’s getting sad that everyone reads more into his statement. He is entitled to his opinion just like everyone else is entitled to theirs, it doesn’t make it wrong OR right. If you STOP making a big deal of these things then the bigotry and hatred will go away because it won’t get any attention and it won’t get a rise out of people. Plain and Simple.

    December 19, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Beuford

    I love watching the show and believe that the Robertson's are as real as "reality" can get. I also believe that we all have opinions and choices. I would watch this show even knowing Phil's beliefs and I have a gay brother. What Phil said does not bother me in the least. What does bother me is that this is a "reality" show. This is Phil's reality and whether or not I want to watch is MY choice. That is reality Jack.

    December 19, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. peggy scott

    They better bring him back or A&E just cut their own throats and it will hit them in the pocketbook that is the only thing they will understand is money another network will take duck dynasty in a heartbeat

    December 19, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. mozrox

    This is not a free speech issue. What don't you people understand? The government isn't suppressing him in the least. he can go wherever he darn pleases and say what he wants.

    A&E is PRIVATELY OWNED and has every right to decide what kind of programming they air. Period. If you don't like, watch a different channel.

    December 19, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. Get used to IT tea potty! 3 more yrs to spew ur hate @Obama

    I dont have a problem with what this idiot Duck Dynasty dude said but you really believe in the First AMN

    December 19, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. DonTheGreen

    A few thousand years ago people were killed for their beliefs in Jesus Christ. In fact, they thought it an honor to be martyred for their Lord and Savior. Now, we can simply have character assassination of people for stating what they believe, and what is taught by our God. Jesus loved and forgave all those he met, no matter what the "sin". He also said to Love our Neighbors as Ourselves and that requires an open heart and mind. I don't think God's laws change with the evolution of our society. We have to work at the resolution of conflict between our beliefs, prejudices and conflicts. I will love my child no matter what. God will love each of us, sinners, no matter what. I will cling to my values, principles and beliefs, and to what God has asked me and all of us to do. And like Mr. Robertson, I will accept consequences rather than try to fall in with the latest bandwagon of political correctness. I applaud Mr. Robertson for his courage and honesty. Perhaps it's time for more of us to do the same.

    December 19, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Joe The Plumber

    Guess these GOP mouthpieces dont understand your employer can take exception to your public behavior and wax you for it.

    December 19, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. much thunder..little rain

    free speech...not ..if you only say what the media wants to hear.... double standard...bill mahar say hatefull things about christians every show ...pathedic..go phil you the man.

    December 19, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. RonL

    I can't understand ... The First Amendment says YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY THINGS!!! It does not say THERE WILL BE NO CONSEQUENCES to what you say!!! In the last three weeks Martin Bashir was taken off the air because he EXPRESSED what he felt about Gov. Palin and I don't recall her demanding he get his job back!!! Could all of you people who claim to be defending the Constitution, stop distorting it !!! Governor Jindal should frankly be ashamed of himself he knows the ONLY way this would have been a First Amendment issue is if Mr. Robertson had been thrown in jail for what he said.

    December 19, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. AmericanVet

    America is sick!! Phil pointed it out!! A&E sucks

    December 19, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    I stand with Phil...no more A and E.

    December 19, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    A&E has the right to suspend Phil. I have the right not to watch A&E, and to not buy from their sponsors.

    December 19, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. GARY

    This is not a question of Free Speech. An employer has a right to fire or suspend any employee if the say something the employer feels is damaging to the company. How come, all of a sudden, these Republicans are against employer rights?

    December 19, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. Kelly, New York

    I have never watched this show and now I never will. Enough said.

    December 19, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    A True Conservative

    Why is any of this a surprise? The liberal left has been like this for years. I'm free to think, believe or say anything – as long as they agree with me. If they disagree, I am accused of intolerance and attacked with....wait for it....intolerance! Read what the man said and tell me that he is intolerant. He was simply stating his opinion.
    ---------------------------–
    The man is still free to simply state his opinion. There is nothing political going on here, except for what conservatives are shouting about, which is pure intolerant nonsense. Respect the fact that A&E expressed the opinion of its' shareholders. It's supposed to work both ways, you know. Or, do you disagree with that? People [corporations, my friend] are not allowed to express a desire to remain neutral and stay out of politics? You've express intolerance to others in your response.

    December 19, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda/Minnesota

    I'm guessing many of Phil Robertson's Christian followers here on the ticker haven't read his comments in full
    -------------------------------------------------
    As you well know babe I enjoyed watching the show, but I can no longer enjoy it because it will be marred by his comments. Comments, I might add, that I while I don't personally agree with he has every right to feel and express and accept the consequences when he does so.
    Being booted from the show is just one of those consequences.
    I find it interesting that CNN chose to go into detail about the homosexuality comments but not his comments about race relations.

    December 19, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. Edish

    Morons of the world unite! Thanks Bobby and Sarah and "Duck". This is not about freedom of speech. It is about people who hate, and are extraordinarily ignorant.

    December 19, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  23. B

    Whether or not you agree with what Phil Robertson said in his interview, he was asked his opinion on what sin is.
    @Pat I totally agree. Phil didn’t claim any of this was a representation of A&E. @A True Conservative I couldn’t agree more. He was simply stating his opinion, one that is obviously not popular among society. Phil also offered other words in the interview saying, “we never, ever judge someone”. Did mainstream media lock onto those words though? No. Did they point fingers at the adulterers, idolaters, prostitutes, greedy, drunks, slanderers and swindlers he mentioned as well? Nope. Because those things are in compliance with society- everyone agrees it’s wrong to be one of those; that’s among the popular vote.
    @Beuford Wonderfully said. You know what the show is about and you have the ability to turn the station if you don’t like it. It’s the same with every other show.

    December 19, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  24. Punctus

    Guess Jindal didn't hear what Robertson had to say about Indians.

    December 19, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  25. Guest

    Sarah Palin is mistaking a private business for the government of the United States.

    "Congress shall make no law...." does not mean "A private business must aloow..." A&E has just as much right to decide who they're going to allow on the TV shows they produce or distribute as I do to decide who I want in my living room. Or, more important, just as much as Chick-Fil-A does.

    It's disturbing to see someone suddenly throw out all concern for the rights of a business when the business's opinion conflicts with hers.

    December 19, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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