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. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    What a crock! This is NOT a free speech issue!! He was suspended for mouthing off and the righties expect no consequences. Try mouthing off to about potential CUSTOMERS using a public forum and see if your BOSS has nothing to say about it! He was suspended for economic reasons and BROUGHT BACK for ECONOMIC reasons!

    December 28, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. ED1

    About time people are finding free speech is for everyone like it or not.

    If you don't like the show don't watch I hear that all the time by the liberal arts people the gays and AA have had their fifteen minutes now go back to do what you do and stop the racial card playing.

    December 28, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  3. Anthony

    The right does not have a monopoly on freedom of consequences. Any employee can be fired for saying things that his or her employer does not agree with or has not authorized. Employers have freedom of expression too.

    December 28, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. stormchaser101

    Say what you want,what Phil Robertson said is bigoted hate speech just the same.Spewing it from the christian pulpit and quoating scripture does not change that.Hopefully in the future he will refrain from sharing his opinion with us.

    December 28, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. rs

    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.
    Funny that you would support Jindal (and every other TEA Party hack) attacking A & E for firing a stupid employee. No one "infringed" Mr. Robertson's unforgivable screed- it's all there in print in GQ.

    December 28, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. ThinkAgain

    @ED1: "About time people are finding free speech is for everyone like it or not."

    This isn't a free speech issue – it's an issue between an employer who doesn't like how an employee is representing it. Anyone who's ever had a job knows that the employer dictates conduct of its employees in the context of their employment, for everything from speech to whether or not you can wear earrings.

    All you righties just love playing the victim card – what a bunch of wusses!

    December 28, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Score Keeper

    Duck Dynasty 1
    LGBT lunatics 0

    The vast majority of this country supports Phil and his right to express his religious views. The haters of the LGBT community should not be allowed to silence him or take his show off the air, which is what they were really after.

    December 28, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Elli

    Now I'll wait to hear from jindal about the next $30k worker fired for bad language.

    December 28, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. ThinkAgain

    Here's a fun activity: Google the Quacks before they decided to cash in by pretending to be hillbillies (before the beards) Photos can be found all over of their metro, yuppie selves (looking more like the multi-millionaires that they are — thanks to their family-run duck-call business).

    December 28, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. John Nelson

    Would someone please tell Governor Jindal (and dropout AK Governor Palin) that this was never a free speech issue. A fearful and ignorant redneck mouthed off and got suspended. He had the right to speak. His employer had a right to suspend him. No rights were violated or abridged. QED.

    December 28, 2013 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. rs

    Score Keeper
    Duck Dynasty 1
    LGBT lunatics 0

    The vast majority of this country supports Phil and his right to express his religious views. The haters of the LGBT community should not be allowed to silence him or take his show off the air, which is what they were really after.
    So, how do you score Robertson's racists idiocy that Blacks were happier in the pre-civil rights South when they could be killed by the KKK for no reason.

    December 28, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Name

    YOu lose GLAAD Baggers! Lol

    December 28, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. don in albuquerque

    Ed1-Their right to "freedom of speech" was not infringed on. If anything it was upheld. He got to say what he wanted but what he wanted was apparently different from what his employers wanted. Words may be freely said but still may have other consequences. He did not go to jail for announcing publicly he is a bigot. It is actually appreciated by many that he spoke out in this manner so they can just turn him off and boycott advertisers on the show (or withhold donations).

    December 28, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. bobmoeoeo

    So I guess Jindal and Palin will be rushing to Martin Bashir's defense now to have him re-instated so that "free speech" will be protected? I guess the fascist regime of Obama messed up and thought Bashir was a conservative? Oh wait, the government wasn't involved in either of these incidents, so the first amendment wasn't violated... nevermind....

    December 28, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Enough is Enough

    It is about time straight, white, religious people stood up for their rights and told the haters on the left to stuff it. Hopefully this is the beginning of the push back on all of this far left idiocy meant to silence people and attack religious beliefs.

    December 28, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. Thomas

    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.

    Bottom line , money talks !

    It's all about sales

    December 28, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Triple Lindy

    stormchaser101, "quoating scripture does not change that". Storm, there is no change with God. Read this from Numbers 23:19-20 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Behold, I received a command to bless: he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.

    December 28, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Thomas

    so it just fine to hate if you hide behind free speech.

    December 28, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  19. smith

    When this first happend everybody was saying that A&E has every right to suspend him and I agree. However, now they have decided to bring him back. If you felt it was up to A&E in the begining then you should respect their choice now. In the other words, don't be a flip flopper.

    December 28, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. California

    If you don't like what someone has to say then don't listen. PERIOD.

    December 28, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. smith

    @Tampa Tim &Think Again- You lost, deal with it. It was A&E who beat you, not the right wing.

    December 28, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. don in albuquerque

    Jindal proves once again why he is not now, and probably never will be ready to become POTUS. Just another clue, he does not understand what Free Speech is and is not.

    December 28, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. Mario

    Duck Dynasty is a WHITES only show. Ted Cruz and republican are a bunch of coward's. They will never get the Hispanic and African American VOTE.

    December 28, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. Donna

    Well, Jindal, you will never ever be President. ha ha

    December 28, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. Dallas

    Another tea bag whack job! This has nothing to do with freedom of speech – it was a series of bigoted statements which even A&E admits were improper and don't reflect the beliefs of the network. The only reason he's back is because of $$$!

    December 28, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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