December 27th, 2013
08:37 PM ET
4 years ago

Jindal praises ‘Dynasty’ reinstatement: Left doesn’t have ‘monopoly on free speech’

Updated 12/27/2013 at 9:31pm

(CNN) - Like many conservatives, Louisiana’s Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal was happy to find out Friday that “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson’s suspension from the show had been lifted.

“I am glad to hear that the folks at A&E came to their senses and recognized that tolerance of religious views is more important than political correctness,” the possible 2016 presidential candidate said in a statement mere hours after the network announced its decision.

“Today is a good day for the freedoms of speech and religious liberty,” Jindal said.

Robertson had been briefly suspended from the reality show, which is filmed in Louisiana, over comments the “Dynasty” family patriarch made to GQ in the January issue of their magazine. Those comments included his belief that homosexuality is a sin, one he put in the same category as bestiality and promiscuity. He also made controversial comments about race relations during his time growing up in the South.

A&E reversed its decision Friday after extensive backlash.

"After discussions with the Robertson family, as well as consulting with numerous advocacy groups, A&E has decided to resume filming Duck Dynasty later this spring with the entire Robertson family," the network said in a statement.

Thousands signed petitions backing Robertson against A&E, with many on the right crying foul over a perceived assault on Robertson’s right to express his religious views in the name of “political correctness.”

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

Jindal was joined by other prominent conservatives in condemning the suspension. At the time, former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin declared on Facebook 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.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz - another possible 2016 Republican presidential contender - also spoke out for Robertson last week.

In a Facebook post titled “Free Speech Matters,” Cruz wrote at the time that "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," he said.

After A&E reversed its decision, Cruz took to Twitter to celebrate:

In a later tweet Cruz wrote: “As PC enforcers often forget, tolerance is a two-way street. Welcome back, Phil.”

The head of the conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition also spoke out in favor of the reversal after calling the initial suspension "a brazen act of anti-Christian bigotry."

Founder and chairman Ralph Reed said in a statement Friday that he was glad that A&E "came to their senses."

"Their rash suspension of Mr. Robertson threatened to destroy the most valuable franchise on cable television and alienate 40 million evangelical Christians in the process," Reed said.

"While Mr. Robertson used some admittedly ill-advised language in the interview, he said nothing that justified this punishment. He simply quoted the Bible in answering a question about his faith. We applaud A&E for taking this step and hope the network will never again take the bizarre step of sanctioning someone for expressing their Christian faith."

Friday, Jindal - who is term-limited and openly considering a presidential bid - blasted “the left” for trying to quiet Robertson.

“The left is going to have to get accustomed to the fact that it does not have a monopoly on free speech and is not the only group who is permitted to voice its opinion in the public square,” Jindal said.

“The left may control Hollywood, but they don’t control the hearts and minds of a majority of Americans.”

–CNN’s Dana Davidsen, Marlena Baldacci and Brian Stelter contributed to this report.

Filed under: Bobby Jindal • Louisiana
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. O'drama Ya Mama

    Well A & E just traded their values for some more money. His freedom of speech was never violated. He was never arrested or fined or sued by anyone. If anyone's right were violated it is A & E. They have the freedom to fire and hire whom ever they choose. Clearly a bunch of people who have no idea what the first amendment really is can put enough pressure on A & E. Next thing you know any employee will be able to say what ever vulgarity they've had bottled up at their boss or coworkers and their jobs will be protected. Sad day in America when one freedom is taken away while trying to protect another that was never violated to begin with.

    December 27, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    An employer always has the right to suspend or fire someone if that person represents the company in a way the company doesn't like.

    It has nothing to do with freedom of speech – it's part of the agreement employees enter into when they work for a company.

    The Duck dudes know this – but they'll never admit it. Far better financially for them and their phony show to get all whiny and upset about "the left" supposedly infringing on their rights.

    What a bunch of fake losers ... ditto for the suckers who think these millionaires somehow represent the average kristchun amurikan... just like the Quitta from Wasilla, their god is money.

    December 27, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    A&E couldn't care less about anything except all the free publicity this whole "controversy" has created. They, like their phony duck "stars," are laughing all the way to the bank.

    December 27, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. Gary

    “Today is a good day for the freedoms of speech and religious liberty,” Jindal said.
    I guess it wasn't a good day a few years ago for the Dixie Chicks.
    You must ge proud to be Govenor of the poorest, least educated state in the country.

    December 27, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |

    Louisiana Governor Piyush Jindal learned that people who live in glass houses should not throw stones. You remember Jindal, he is the Governor who said that he would sign the birther bill if it crossed his desk Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is an Anchor Baby Jindal "was born on June 10, 1971, in Baton Rouge to Hindu parents who had come to the United States six months before so his mother could pursue a graduate degree in nuclear physics at Louisiana State University." The simple reason is birthers are racist. It is not about whether Obama was born here, it is about the color of his skin and Piyush has learned that lesson the hard way.

    December 27, 2013 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  6. Ron Koch

    Lets give everyone with crazy opions or ideas a show! How about an islamic family show ,see how long that last. Im sure Ted Cruz would have something to say about that. Bottom line the show doesnt bother me,i know alot of people who think this way. I dont agree with anything this guy believes in.There always going to be people with different views then mine, i accept that. I dont think Ted Cruz willing to see other peoples point of view. Its a funny show about narrow minded people with childish behavior.

    December 27, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |

    It is unfortunate that the Right Wing again wraps themselves in the Flag and Bible in order to rationalize the rants of a mad man. The "Left Wing" had one of their TV Personalities (MSNBC) removed from the air and I do not remember Jindal or any of his Right Wing members call for him to be reinstated – maybe he should be in fairness.

    December 27, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  8. ak_steve

    Leave it to the GOP to exploit a completely unrelated issue for political gain. Who cares about the Duck Dyno's? Really, are they relevant? And if so... we are all doomed.

    A&E is in the entertainment business. It's purpose is to "entertain" and they make decision based on their 'business". Oh, wait.. that is starting to sound a bit like congress. My apologize.

    December 27, 2013 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  9. Hank

    The liberals think they can bash around people who are rich casting them all as evil doers and that's supposedly okay because to them, the rich have no feelings. It's okay for the liberals to try to slam through laws and create hate everywhere at the national level but one man and his own simple observations and feelings is somehow more morally reprehensible? One man and his own views in some stupid magazine creates an uproar but the POTUS can go around and totally destroy American values with his rants and raves about rich white people? Sorry folks, some dude from a redneck t.v. show is not going to have much power over you or anyone else who is gay and I don't see him even trying to make this about power. POTUS on the other hand is trying to abuse power and maybe it's time he was suspended indefinitely since his words and actions have caused more harm and damage than Phil's ever could.

    December 27, 2013 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain

    All A&E has done is reward bad behavior.

    December 28, 2013 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  11. sam o'brien

    This isn't really a "free speech" issue. No one stopped Mr. Robertson from saying what he said. It's in black & white on the pages of GQ. A&E did not ask GQ to retract the article. No one impeded Mr. Robertson's right to say what he wanted to say.

    This is an "employee vs. employer" situation. A&E have Mr. Robertson under contract. If they don't like what he said, they can do what they want as far as suspend him, because he's one of their contract player. Zack Randolph just got fined for bad mouthing a ref. Why? Because he is an NBA player, employed by the NBA to play basketball. The employer didn't like what he said, he got fined.

    In the end, who won this little charade? The all mighty dollar. The Robertsons would lose a big chunk of change and free notoriety for leaving, and A&E would lose one of their top revenue getters.

    December 28, 2013 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  12. Thomas

    Jindal said.

    “The left may control Hollywood, but they don’t control the hearts and minds of a majority of Americans.”

    The majority of Americans could care less about duck guy and what little bobby J thinks .

    December 28, 2013 02:37 am at 2:37 am |

    The Guns Over People tea potty wingnuts divide America with extremist stupidity. Keep talking wingnuts. 2014 comes quickly.

    December 28, 2013 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  14. @RI_Roger

    A lesson for the enforcers of "political correctness" you may be loud, but may not always be many. For the LGBT community, the majority want to be tolerant to your lifestyle but we don't want it rammed down our throats. If you choose to be loud and public when our views are different than yours, you may want to be careful on who will provide you services you need. The community providing those services with the same views as yours, is very small and not very geographically convenient.

    December 28, 2013 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  15. Tampa Tim

    Tolerance of religious views? How does this have anything to do with tolerance? A person used his TV fame to preach intolerance toward a group of humans. Jindal must think his speaking out, and showing his stupidity, will propel him to the republican nomination.

    December 28, 2013 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    The people need to protect their rights to free speech.

    The regime seeks to take your rights of free speech away from you.

    December 28, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  17. Tommy G

    It is about time people take a stand against the fascist left and their endless crusade to control the free speech and religious beliefs of others. They are the true haters.

    December 28, 2013 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  18. ora pike

    this is the right thing to do-i hear people like sharpton say horrible things and they keep him on the air--the left wants freedom of thought--as long as you think like they do. I went to college on the GI bill-got all top grades until one day the "doctor of philosophy" and I got into a disagreement over something-from that day on i got all C's-help another vet with his term paper and he got an A-I got a C. This is how the left works or when they work. WTGP-WAY TO GO PHIL. And A&E you did what was right.

    December 28, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  19. HenryMiller

    As I quoted yesterday, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

    I think the comments made by this guy are as ridiculous as is most religious babble, but it's absolutely his right to make them.

    December 28, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  20. Marie MD

    Is there anyone on the teaklan side who doesn't want to be president? The clown car is busting with nobodys and fools.

    December 28, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  21. Pete

    Why does Jindal an out of touch republican governor from Louisiana have anything good to say...The governor that saw a man having a seizure and thought he was possessed by the devil,real intelligence again but that's the norm in Louisiana isn't it!!!He mentioned how the left causes trouble when in fact its the sanctumonious bible toting righties the ignorent ones that sided with this guy who couldn't buy 5 minutes on any other channel besides A&E just like their moronic Honey DOO DOO that out did the republican convention in Tampa last year...Speaks volumes about the republicans intelligence doesn't it!!I feel left out because I didn't get my Duck Dynasty duck caller in my stocking this year ,boo hoo!!!

    December 28, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  22. pbcalif

    Really Jindal? What about your state that revealed during Hurricane Katrina, the dire poverty of black people? They were living as if though it was still the 1800's. Horrific scenes of mostly black people still being ignored in that football stadium. Black people in LA still are treated like dirt. Why don't you talk about racism, not liberal speech.

    December 28, 2013 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  23. Anthony

    White people should ask themselves this question: will they allow another race to say the same thing to them that they say to other races? If white people won't allow another race to say the same thing to them, what they say to other races is racist. For example, if white people want to say "black people want handouts from government," just imagine black people saying "white people want handouts from government" to them.

    December 28, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  24. pkMyt1

    This had nothing to do with free speech. It was a private company worried that the comments would hurt their bottom line. The GOP should be so happy that they are wetting themselves. A PRIVATE company did not like what was said. A PRIVATE company decided they will lose more money if they don't reinstate this guy. No real story here.

    December 28, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  25. 1twinsfan

    For a man who wanted to quit being from the stupid party, Gov. Jindahl sure shows a lack of understanding about the first amendment.

    December 28, 2013 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
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