December 19th, 2013
12:18 PM ET
9 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. Randy, San Francisco

    As long as the Republican Party has leaders like Palin, Jindal, Santorum, Paul, and Cruz saying stupid things, rebranding efforts will be a failure. The Republican Tea Party war against women, gays, minorities, poor, immigrants, and middle class continues with no shame.

    December 19, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. freedom

    Why does Bill Mayer still have a job, if offensive language and non-politically correct beliefs are the barometer? He's the absolute worst! This is ridiculous – and wrong. If this is going to be the rule, then there will be no one on the airwaves at all. Either be consistent with the punishment, or let freedom of speech stay alive. A&E has now lost a whole lot of viewers – just like Oprah.

    December 19, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. Denise

    Let them take their show to another right wing, racist place. Who watches these clowns anyway or better yet, who has the time?

    December 19, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. dr. Sikes

    This is NOT a matter of First Amendment violations. Mr. Robertson is free to make any statements he wants and have them published or otherwise disseminated by any venue that chooses to do so. Likewise, A&E is free to REFUSE to disseminate his offensive, and frankly just incorrect, statements. A&E is exercising its First Amendment rights, just as Mr. Robertson was doing when he spoke to GQ magazine.

    December 19, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  5. Carla

    get over it, not everybody agrees with everybody. I have noticed that the only people are intolerant about is the TRUTH. It is what it is. God almighty is the law making, we are just trying to live the way he said to. That doesn't make anyone less of a sinner, but we are ALL sinners.

    December 19, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Leslie Song

    His rights??? Black people and gays are and have been murdered by bigots who are fueled by the kind of talk this 'star' spews. Try to remember history – KuKluxKlan killings and lynchings. And that is all through history. Kanye West may be a jerk but he does not advocate the killing of white people or rabble-rouse for hate-causes. And WHY do you want to double down on your hatreds? And your so-called 'right' to hatred and damaging slanderous speech? Jesus is LOVE. Jesus did not say slander Black people. He would roll in his grave at such ugly words and ideas.

    December 19, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. Winston5

    I recall Martin Bashir getting fired for exercising his free speech rights??...On a network no less?? Oh Sarah, you're a dolt.

    December 19, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  8. Tom

    "politically correct" simply means that you're being sensitive to the feelings of others. if you're "politically incorrect" it means you don't give a rusty nail aabout the feelings of others.

    December 19, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. Marc Atkins

    Screw Phil Robertson! You are a bearded weirdo lucky enough to get a hit t.v. show and you want to screw it up for everyone? Why can't you just shut your stupid mouth and not cause me to speculate on exactly how much you know about male prostitutes?

    P.S. – Hey Gina! Don't forget Martin Bashir! It's okay for Silly Sarah to be a dufus about slavery but it you call her on it, you have to resign! What an absolute joke! And Bobby Jindal ought to concentrate on actually getting some Obamacare for all those people who live in the 5th poorest state in the union! All that time Jindal was telling the world that, he may be Indian, but he's just like you – who was he referring to?

    December 19, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. critical thinking

    The man is a hugely successful multi millionaire who speaks what he believes. If you don't agree, too bad.

    December 19, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Could someone post links to articles where Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal rushed to the defense of Martin Bashir after he lost his job over his highly offensive commentary concerning Mrs. Palin? I assume they felt the 1st Amendment was under attack then as well?

    December 19, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. Richard

    Jindal is a man of colour. Sad that he would support any version of intolerance, only to further his own political career. Disgusting. No wonder Lousiana is so backward.

    December 19, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. Mimurown Businez

    A 100 years ago it was Slavery.
    WWII the Jews are a problem.
    Now the gays are the problem.
    When on Gods Green earth are people just going to accept each other and cut out the baloney. Just let it go folks, live and let live.

    December 19, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. AWESOME

    First Amendment, that whats the constitution is about. Politically correct people agree with everything except what they dont agree with

    December 19, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  15. Mark

    Would someone please tell these politicians, that the First Amendment only applies to governments not being able to make laws that effect free speech. It does not apply to a private company like A & E, CNN, GM or any other employer. If Jindal is going to run for President, it would behoove him to read and understand the Constitution.

    December 19, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. D. Williams

    Question here is why would a magazines like GQ want to interview a guy like Phil. Because they know they can make a scene and what sells newspapers, books, and magazines better than that. I guess GQ needed to kick their second quarter off with allot of sales.

    Not to mention it's not like A&E who has already come out and stated they support and value the gay community, yet for four seasons they put on TV a show they knew darn well would at some point be controversial, being that they show clearly does not re-frame form religious beliefs.
    I say screw A&E and their BS. They were just happy with a 12 million viewer of the first episode this fall, but when someone actually states what their beliefs are in a magazine they run and hide.

    December 19, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. peavey

    ""Those 'intolerants' hatin' and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch"

    actually, the 'Harpy' has it backwards; it was Mr. Phil's words that were 'intolerant and hatin'.

    He threw the first stone; don't play dumb.

    December 19, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    I would like to take the time to remind Jindal, Palin, and the rest of the double standard having hypocrites that Alec Baldwin was fired for much less.

    December 19, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. Duke

    "Better to have everyone assume you are an idiot that to open your mouth and erase all doubt"

    It not taking away his first amendment right to free speech to drop him from the program. Is he allowed to his ignorant, opinions? Sure is.

    But A&E is not supressing his right to mark himself a moron. He can do that whenever he likes.

    They have no obligation to give him a venue to espouse his views however. Unlike what Ms. Palin thinks, the operators of the medium for entertainment have no obligation to give ANYONE a platform.

    Now if the mediaa would realize that about Ms. Palin, think about how musc less stupid would be floating about in this world, offending snyone with a brain....

    December 19, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. JohnM

    When someone puts themselves in the public sphere and begins fielding questions of this nature and answers them before he can think it through and provide a well thought out, intelligent, defensible answer and then gets ripped, he has no one to blame but himself.

    December 19, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. tom l

    I think it's sad but A&E can do what it wants. This isn't a first amendment issue. He's not going to jail but he does have to deal with the ramifications for what he said. That being said, I think A&E probably has some other shows that don't they don't agree with but in this PC world that's what their reaction is.

    I find it pretty damn funny to listen to the liberals like Rudy here say that they should fire him because it costs them money. What happened Rudy? Isn't just another greedy corporation that only cares about the bottom line??

    What's even better is the same people that are saying that he needs to take responsibility for his words are the same ones that were backing Martin Bashear and didn't think he should have been fired. Classic hypocrisy but what else is new when it comes to the left.

    December 19, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. atroy

    Jindal is not even an American...no wonder he doesn't understand the first amendment.

    December 19, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. AWESOME

    im with phil

    December 19, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. Ridiculous

    How is this a first amendment issue? He was given a forum to speak and he got his message out, as misguided as I think it is he spoke. He was suspended by a company that doesn't want to be associated with what he said. Since when is a TV network bound by the consititution to put people on their network that they don't want to be associated with.

    December 19, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Dominican mama: "Being booted from the show is just one of those consequences..."

    Taking personal responsibility? Yeah. A misnomer if ever there was one. I know you enjoyed watching the show (and as you know, I haven't watched it ... nor would I). My original comment was my personal musings of a nation who declares on one hand that it follows Christ and on the other hand is nothing like the Christ I learned at a very young age to accept and love.

    December 19, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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