December 19th, 2013
12:18 PM ET
9 years 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 petition as of Thursday morning rallying support to bring Robertson back, and a faith-based group, Faith Driven Consumer, launch a website 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. Really?

    In response to Dan, I am leaving A&E turned on in my house on one TV 24/7. That will counter the two hours a week you are not watching. HA! Works for FOX, nobody really cares about what they are saying they have just convinced their viewers to leave them on 24/7 to get higher ratings.

    December 19, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. Gina

    The government did nothing to censor this guy, his 1st amendment rights are in tact. As are A&E. They are a private company that made a decision. They have 1st amendment rights as well. And what this guy said can endanger their brand. They're protecting themselves. Jindal and Palin can defend him but they also will have to defend our right to have an opinion about it.

    December 19, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. Derrius Williams

    Personally, I don't think Phil should have been pulled from the show. Simply, due to the fact it's a free country that allows free speech, so why shouldn't Phil be able to say what he wants to say, when he wants to say? In addition, A&E knew exactly what they were getting into when they enabled Phil to have this open-ended show. Finally, I really prefer not to get biblical, but what Phil stated is TRUE!!! However, everyone has their own free will to do whatever they want.

    December 19, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. Vader

    Phil Robertson has the right to express any view that he chooses, no matter how objectionable you may find it. This is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. If you don't like what he says, don't watch Duck Dynasty. If enough of you don't watch Duck Dynasty, the show's ratings fall. If the ratings fall, sponsors put their advertising $ elsewhere, the show does not make a profit, and it ceases to be produced. That's how it works.

    If you agree with his views, or just don't care, then continue to watch. Either of these paths is your right as an individual and consumer.

    A&E had two choices here. One, stay quiet and (hopefully) ride it out. Their exposure in doing so, however, is not limited to just the one show in which Mr. Robertson appears should public outcry coalesce into an organized boycott of A&E in general, and while the ratings of Duck Dynasty individually may have suffered (or not), A&E has chosen to act preemptively to protect their larger business venture.

    Television shows are not an entitlement; they only exist as long as those paying the bills believe it is in their economic interest for them to continue. Clearly, A&E is attempting to mitigate any impact to the larger venture before it becomes manifest. Are they right, or have they simply compounded the problem? Only time will tell.

    What is not known is if there were any individual contractual stipulations between A&E and Mr. Robertson prohibiting any actions on Mr. Robertson's part that could be construed to be detrimental to the image (and commercial interests) of A&E along the lines of a "for cause" clause.

    December 19, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. PK

    Who cares what Sarah Palin says, she is a lame duck and should be among the cast of DD.

    December 19, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. sammy750

    But Palin blasted the MSNBC Martin for what said. So what does this make Palin. She just talks, to talk. She defends those she likes and blast those she doesn't. She just like to be in the spotlight

    December 19, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  7. scott

    i cannot believe i am going to say this, i am almost sick...i agree with sarah palin...i am one of the most liberal of people around...he absolutly has the right to say what he wants to. i spent 7yrs in the army defending those rights...however, a & e network also has rights...they have to protect their they have rights to fire him....conservatives will say we have freedom of speech until it conflicts with the pc or liberal progresive crowd...well conservatives this is a free market decision and dont u just hate it when the free market principles come back around and bite u in the assets

    December 19, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. Stefan

    Apparently Jindal and Palin think it is the role of politicians to dictate what a private business thinks is appropriate for it's employees to publicly say. Bb-b-b-but... Tea Party!!!

    Can someone just get Palin on record claiming Obamacare caused this, so we can save it for posterity as the (current) low point for American political logic?

    December 19, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. james

    Well it is a shame that the good morals and Christian ethics are scaring the A&E people. But the people who should be afraid are the ones that have good morals when it only profits them. hey what do you think the world thinks when we gave up in god we trust. I suggest you all reflect what you all are giving up for profit and short term amusement or is it ambition of you to offend all that do not have a desire to be consumed by abominations. Well A&E you have had a very few good programs but it dwindling fast to none. thank you your showing how your like all the other stations that censor good morals.

    December 19, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. fr114

    really, the queen of lowbrow Palin, we have to hear her opinion.

    December 19, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. KLL

    I agree with freedom of speech, first of all. However, let me say that Christians are supposed to have loving hearts and accept people as they are. So, while some of you say Robertson has the right to free speech, well, so do people who live a different lifestyle than what some believe is the "norm." 75% of heterosexual marriages end in divorce, 50% of those relationships have one or both spouses cheating AND let's not forget the heavy handed issue of child abuse. I cannot stand the Duck Dynasty show and I hate their lifestyle and how they abuse and torture animals. I think that entire family is disgusting. That's my first amendment right to say, correct? When Robertson came to Saddleback Church to speak, I purposely stayed home. I despise what the family stands for and how they abuse animals, period.

    December 19, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. sheppard

    $arah knows how to make a buck... other than that, ignore her; $he will only drag you down to her level of stupidity...

    December 19, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  13. ps

    I dont know why these are people are defending this man. this family are racist and just down right nasty. People need to stop watching this show

    December 19, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. valerie Paluszysnki

    Agreed that there is no free speech issue here – he can be suspended or cancelled by A&E. He can then pitch his series idea to another network – maybe BET will pick it up? Looking forward to a national campaign by Jindal – should be better than any sitcom.

    December 19, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. Leviticus is the Old Testament Phil!

    Aren't shellfish an abomination Phil? That is covered in Leviticus too. Your Mud Bugs are shellfish and sinful to eat, and that pig you killed on your show and ate is in there too. Mostly they were laws for Bedouins 2000 years ago to have living offspring to inherent their family. The wages of sin are indeed death of your family line which all of these could have led to at the time. The fact that Phil's lacks Biblical scholarship is sad, he is supposed to be a leader in his Church.

    December 19, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Why did the person ask the question in the first place? If you are not going to like the answer?

    December 19, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. ssgttyo

    Troy (and to any other Christians)

    I'm a Christian and I respect Phil and his families deep rooted faith. I do, however, have a HUGE problem with people like them. Yes if you read the bible it does say something akin to what Phil said, BUT where does it say that Jesus ever said "Mary Magdalene, I love you BUT you know you're a prostitute that's going to hell right?"

    Jesus preached his word by actions even more than his words. People like Phil that want to preach to people that they're wrong need to read their bibles again and pay more attention to the fact that everyone has an equal chance to heaven. I would love to meet that perfect person who has repented for each one of their sins and is guaranteed a spot in heaven. Anyone has the chance to get into heaven, and just because you don't think someone is destined for heaven doesn't mean you go overboard, say you 'don't agree with it' and move forward.

    For the record, as much as I disagree with what Phil said and the way he said it, I don't think banning him just to save face is the way to go. Getting a way from the religious angle, you're allowed to say whatever you want in this country and as such you shouldn't have to worry about backlash over an opinion. If political correctness is the standard then they need to amend the constitution to say as much, until then just get a thicker skin.

    December 19, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. Wha?

    I called my boss a DA and he fired me! What about my free speech!

    December 19, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. Cat

    Palin is the moron who put out targets with peoples pictures on them. She is a stupid moron.

    December 19, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC


    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.".

    Anyone recognize that ? Or do you all go straight to the bill of rights ?
    Does anyone else recognize that as a law? I don't, because it is not a law. What was your point again?

    December 19, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. Brian

    Lynda/Minnesota, interesting comment, you say being booted from the show is just one of those consequences, consequences I guess you are talking about for speaking your mind or standing up for what you believe in. Lynda you say you don't watch the show nor would I yet you are allowed the very rights to post your opinion in this forum but you weren't suspended indefinitely for saying what you think. Also Phil Robertson's comments has nothing to do with the nation's belief, it has to do with his own personal beliefs and a a nation that follows Christ that's funny because I don't see that so much so I guess that's why they're not like the Christ you learned about at a very young age. I'm just guessing, voicing my opinion hopefully I won't get censored indefinitely but I'm guessing Lynda from your comments you turned your back on Christ long ago and the show must offend you based on you don't watch the show nor would I. Why not? It's about family, it's funny, maybe it's the guns or the Christian lifestyle they try so hard to live that offends you? And where do you assume Phil Robertson ever signed any contract they would take his right to worship away? Considering he speaks his mind and has in the past refused to cater to A&E when they ask him to leave Jesus name out of his prayer at the dinner table I just don't see him signing a contract saying he wouldn't talk about his religious beliefs. If you have access to a contract that says otherwise I just don't see it. Phil Robertson isn't perfect and has a past but something changed in his life when he met Christ and I for one along with about 12,000,000 others admire him. The world has tried to silence the "Word" for thousands of years and I don't think A&E has a chance.

    December 19, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. Wait a second...

    I find it funny that people are discussing this as a first amendment issue. How was Phil's speech censored? He has the right to his opinion, he has the right to share his opinion, but he does not have the right to embarrass his employer without repercussions. This is an employee/employer issue, nothing more.

    December 19, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. rs

    I love the fact that the "corporations are people too" crowd are up in arms that A & E protected themselves (and their corporate advertisers) by firing this dimbulb-something they would certainly advocate for, but they would rather be on the side of a gay-basher.
    The Right is sooooo lost.

    December 19, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Jorge

    Sarah Palin Defends Duck Dynasty Star, But What About Martin Bashir?

    December 19, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  25. Congrats Phil!

    Welcome to team Succubus Phil, Palin is on your side.

    December 19, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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