December 19th, 2013
12:18 PM ET
11 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. Tim

    I read the entire article. Interesting, his remarks were about behaviors and of those he mentioned included him as well. Essentially he was talking about more than simply performing an act as there was something deeper. Yes, he mentioned man v man, woman v woman and man v woman of which, if anyone knows this mans history, he had relationships with others he now considers a sin. As far as his experience of what he saw as a child as he worked side by side with minorities because he was considered 'white trash' because he was poor- I cannot speak for those experiences and unless one was alongside him, I doubt they can as well. There was nothing derogatory he mentioned about groups and spoke only of his experiences, understanding and thoughts. Typical for us to claim we want honesty and then when we get it we scream that honesty is somehow harmful. I think we should be honest ourselves about that it is we want. The author is certainly a vital part of this story and clearly distances himself from his subject and takes advantage of him but it is also telling that while the author puts across he may not agree with this man he was touched by how this man ACTs toward others. Ironic we teach our children not to judge a book by its cover and then we judge and condemn those who think differently than us and ignore how he lives his life. Personally, I would be considered a sinner by this man but somehow that does not bother me as he admits to being one as well and in this we share something in common. Somehow this story ir remarkable in that it is more about us and our honesty than it is this man.

    December 19, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. Get used to IT tea potty! 3 more yrs to spew ur hate @Obama

    I could care less about what this idiot Duck Dynasty dude said but IF YOU really believe in the First Amendment rights to freedom of speech then A&E can exercise its First Amendment rights to FIRE this bearded fella just as much as he can spout his BS and believes in GQ!!

    A&E is exercising its capitalism rights America. This is CAPITALISM my gop teapotty friends, marianate on that!!

    Dont care much about the duck dynasty tv shows or sarah 'idiot' palin opinion either!!!!

    December 19, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. Nina

    The bottom line, for me, is that making such remarks is in extremely poor taste, impolite, and shows lack of respect for those who are not like the "Duck Dynasty" clan. Ignorance is no excuse, nor is poor manners. These people are entitled to their opinion, absolutely–I just take exception to their bad manners and ignorance (although, they are entitled to be as ignorant as they want).

    December 19, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. John, Texas

    If A&E wants to be high jacked by Activist Liberal groups, that is there prerogitive. It's a private business that can make decisions of this nature. As consumers, we can support A&Es decision or not with our viewership. I would be willing to wager howeve,r that the majority of Duck Dynasty's viewers are not card carryijng members of GLAAD. However A&E has other programs that are watched by the intolerant left. Sounds like a great opportunity for Duck Dynasty to move it's program to CMT.

    December 19, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. kathy

    so when palin put up a stink about what an MSNBC host said about her and he was suspended and then let go...I guess that free speech is different!!!

    December 19, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. Askmehow

    Who writes a contract with a psychotic, duck noise making Moses wanna be!
    I wish him lots of gay grandchildren. lol

    December 19, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. Ali

    The First Amendment protects you from prosecution and punishment BY THE GOVERNMENT for your speech.

    There is not, never has been, will never be and shouldn't be some sort of protection from criticism, judgment or professional or personal consequences for your speech.

    Shocking – Palin and Jindal don't know the Constitution they're constantly wrapping themselves in like a baby blanket.

    December 19, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. Stuffit

    Did anyone read the statement by the Human Rights Council. If you were to actually believe and follow it, Bill Maher and Jon StewRtwould be thrown off the air and MSNBCwould be shut down.

    December 19, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. Big_D

    Wow, the GOP doesn't get there are standards for professional conduct. This isn't free speech this is a paid speech and the people paying decide. No wonder the GOP can't conduct themselves in a civil manner if they don't get this. He can be a slack jawed bigot yokel if he wants, but nobody has to pay him for it.

    December 19, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. mike lenberger

    Where was all this talk about limiting the "freedom of speech" when the Dixie Chicks were ruined because of their comments. Where were you then, Sarah?

    December 19, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. RTE3

    Religious rights? Free speech? Who cares...he embarrassed his employer. He does not have the RIGHT to be on TV. He does not have the RIGHT to work for A&E. So, just like the rest of us working folk, if you conduct yourself in a manner that your employer dislikes, you risk termination. Plain and simple. His rights were not violated. His tasteless remarks cost him a job.

    December 19, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. Tommy G

    Malory Archer
    Tommy G
    Why doesn't A&E ask the viewers of Duck Dynasty what they think of the remarks?
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Because the viewers aren't the ones paying the bills – the SPONSORS are, and the network is just protecting those sponsors' shareholders. Remember, in America $$$ is king.
    -–

    Not entirely true. Viewers also pay the cable company which pays A&E to show their programs. Viewers also buy, or not buy, from advertisers. If I had to venture a guess, I would say the gay audience of this show could be counted on one hand, maybe two. So just who is Phil offending? Certainly not A&E viewers of this show.

    I hope the Duck Dynasty crowd take their show somewhere else and A&E loses millions. They deserve it. Stick true to your beliefs and principles Phil!! Don't let the controllers control you. You don't need them, they need YOU. You are making them millions. Tell them to take a hike.

    December 19, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. dwight

    Did the prosititutes complain about Phil's remark as well?
    Uh no!
    Let's see only the powerful GLAAD who likes to tell others what to believe and push their weight around. Phil simply doesn't agree with homosexuality and he gave his reason why. He didn't promote gay bashing and actually speaks against it.
    Phil and the Duck Dynasty clan will problably gain more ground, then lose it. Any body remember what happened when the owner of Chik-Fil-At expressed his views when asked and there was a push back from GLAAD?
    Those who talk tolerance only want it from thier perspective and work to shut others up when they speak their mind.

    December 19, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  14. smith

    A week or so ago we saw Martin Bashir given the boot because of bad comments and the left was crying unfair and the right was cheering. Now, duck guy makes bad comments and the right cry and the left cheer. This is why Im an Independent..smh

    December 19, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. sqeptiq

    Sarah didn't care much about free speech when Martin Bashir was talking about her.

    December 19, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. DJ

    Phil offered his opinion – no more no less. People can agree or disagree as they see fit. What A&E has done through their actions is to clearly state that people are no longer able to do that sort of thing. Where is human interest if a single person's opinion can't be offered even if some find it objectionable ? A big part of diversity is learning to get along with one another even though we may not share the same views. A&E has taken a big step backwards regarding diversity with their treatment of Phil Robertson.

    December 19, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. Highly_Amused

    "I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment" ????? THIS IS COMPLETE FICTION!!!!!

    TV Networks have NEVER embraced the First Amendment and it is NOT their job to do so!
    The entire PURPOSE of a TV network is to:
    1. Sell enough advertising to make profit!
    2. Attract enough viewers to keep advertisers "happy", so that they CONTINUE to buy advertising time.
    3. There is no third purpose, their only purpose is to make money! PERIOD. THAT is IT!

    This profit mandate PREVENTS TV Networks from EVER embracing the First Amendment, because controversial and offensive remarks will seriously HURT their ability to sell more advertising as well as potentially alienate their viewers!!! DUH!

    All citizens indeed have the right say anything they desire, but TV networks ARE NOT obligated to "humor" them and NEVER WILL because TV Networks are for-profit BUSINESSES!

    December 19, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. Doug

    Who's Phil? What's A&E? What is a "Duck Commander?" Is that like going commando? Hey - what's for lunch?

    December 19, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. TONE

    I took one look at this guys photograph the other day with palin, and the first word that came to mind was racist, i was right.

    December 19, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Sergie Kent

    The progressive's absurdity now being floated is that this is not an abrogation of free speech. Not at all. You still have a right to say what you want but now you have to accept the "consequences" of the reaction to what you said. HELLO?? So go ahead. Say what you want. That is your "right." But if you get arrested, fined, fired, assaulted, lynched, or more commonly have your career or livelihood destroyed for sharing your personal opinion, that's now okay, because it turns out that your opinion is "deeply offensive" to certain social groups?
    ----------------------------
    Guess which "social group" took the greatest offense at the remarks? The shareholders. The right wing's assumption that liberals are behind it is pure willful, belligernt ignorance. The inablility of the right wing to see their own hypocrisy when they decry 1st Amendment speech are being violated, while simultaneously demonstrating zero tolerance for opposing views is amazing.

    December 19, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. ????

    A&E needs to remember that their customers (the viewers) also have a vote.

    December 19, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. Malory Archer

    John, Texas

    If A&E wants to be high jacked by Activist Liberal groups, that is there prerogitive. It's a private business that can make decisions of this nature. As consumers, we can support A&Es decision or not with our viewership. I would be willing to wager howeve,r that the majority of Duck Dynasty's viewers are not card carryijng members of GLAAD. However A&E has other programs that are watched by the intolerant left. Sounds like a great opportunity for Duck Dynasty to move it's program to CMT.

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

    Great idea – then perhaps A&E can use that time slot for arts and some REAL entertainment.

    December 19, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. JustanAmerican

    I love the show and the Robertsons have made a fortune out of being exactly who they are. I don't agree at all with his stance because I believe the bible is a crock made up by MEN that believed the earth was flat. That being said they are definitely entertaining. His comments are what they are but what I cannot tolerate is that the cast would align themselves with someone as disgusting as Sarah Palin. For that alone by DD watching days are OVER.

    December 19, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. bluedogboy

    Phil is still bitter about losing his starting job to Terry Bradshaw.

    December 19, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. KateAZ

    Having Palin & Jindal defend you does not help his cause. Yes we have free speech but you'll have to face the consequences too. People apposed to what you say have a right to free speech too.

    December 19, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
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