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. Anonymous

    Yes, thank you ThinkAgain. Moreover, a popular network show is not just "one" guys opinion. A platform of that size to voice bigotry and call it "free speech" is completely irresponsible. I don't agree at all with the Patriarch, but I do feel he has a right to his own opinion, however, to be given a venue to do so is quite different.

    December 19, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. Brian

    Palin was VP in 2012? Does anyone check the articles? GOP knows that the guy has a RIGHT to say what he feels, but that doesn't mean he can't be punished by an employer for saying it. A&E has the right to discipline as they see fit. Any person working in an office that said the same thing would be subject to discipline. GOP loves feeding the dogs their red meat.

    December 19, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. judith

    Good God Almighty, when Palin jumps to your defense, it proves you're a redneck bigot and a dimwitted clown.. Freedom of speech does not apply here. An employer can fire you for acting or speaking offensively–you can blather like a fool all you want, but you can be fired for doing so!

    December 19, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    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
    Brian in all fairness Lynda did not make that statement. I made that statement.
    And I have watched and enjoyed the show.
    The full context of my statement was that he had every right to say how he feels, but he also has to accept, like we all do, the consequences of his utterings.

    December 19, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. Econ301

    This has nothing to do with the Freedom of Speech.

    His speech was not censored by the Government, and nor has the Government suggested any action need to be taken against him.

    There seems to be this confusion that when people get upset at what you say and take actions from it that is a violation of your right to Free Speech... It isn't.

    Sara and Bobby are way off base on this one. People are free to do and say as they please, however other members of society can view this with scorn and make economic decisions based on your words.

    December 19, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. Johnny Ryder

    Another example of Palin and Jindal knowing very little about how government and constitution work.
    Free speech in thecBill of Rights protects citizens against government infringement on citizens and news sources right to say what they want. However this legal right does not apply to private organizations. Businesses, corporations etc. Can expect. Employees to fit within whatever guidelines they want. Of course they cannot violate civil rights, but they can fire someone who says something they deem to be offensive.

    December 19, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. Dallas

    I will never forgive John McCain for subjecting us to this idiot and people like Phil need to keep their opinions to themselvves. I am sick of these people professing their christianity then coming up with statements like this. At least he is a well rounded bigot – he hates Gays and African-Americans as well. Bobby Jindall has now shot himself in the foot for even having a chance to run for President.

    December 19, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  8. T

    ........Palin and Jindal agree............that means in HUMAN thought, that the mini brains of the Tea Party unite........

    December 19, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. ss

    Why are these so call conservative pro corporation hooligans not defending A&E right as a corporation to fire who they choose. If it was turned around and a spokesperson for the 700 Club made public comments about god being made up Bobby Jingleheimer and Sarah Putin would have been right there telling the illustrious American people that Jesus would want it that way and the network has a duty to fire the individual. What is good for the gander or in this case duck.

    December 19, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. Carrie

    You can say he has a right to free speech, but A&E have a right as a private company to decide who they want publicly representing them, and a right to protect themselves from financial losses too. Should they be expected to keep him on and just absorb the lost revenue as people switch off in protest?

    December 19, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. DB

    What's even sadder than the comments by Robertson are the comments by Palin and Jimdal, elected representatives who apparently believe that private sector networks can violate the first amendment. They can't – only Congress can violate the first amendment. Private companies are completely free to decide what is and what is not said on their shows.

    December 19, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    If the network suspended someone for expressing non-Christian beliefs, would the Quitta be upset?

    For example, what was her opinion when The Learning Channel cancelled the reality TV show, "All-American Muslim"?

    December 19, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Denise

    Jesus save me from your followers. It's been my life experience that those who wear religion and morality on their sleeve don't live their lives in the same way.

    December 19, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. Mikey

    AWESOME – "Someone can say what they want"

    Agree. And those who disagree have every right to criticize. And A&E has every right to make a business decision based on the potential damage caused by one of their "stars" offending a core viewing audience.

    Free speech does not protect you from criticism and consequences. Sorry.

    December 19, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. mark

    I don't get it. If you work for an organization and you are in the public eye, especially since you work for a cable channel and you're on TV, then what you say can easily be interpreted as being sanctioned by that organization. Now if this guy is an average Joe that isn't a celebrity then he can get away with it.
    Let's face it. They guy is 'remorseful' enough that he's trying to back-peddle somewhat with comments like "he loves all of God's children, etc." Why do you think that is? Because he's smart enough to realize that $$ are more important to him than his professed religious beliefs.
    As far as Palin weighing in on this... her family and values of said family speak volumes. Her 'values' are only good for the sound bites she hopes they will be for. Obviously free speech isn't too endangered, she certainly hasn't ever kept her mouth shut, has she?

    December 19, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  16. Jules

    How is it that Martin Bashir was fired because of his comments about Palin, but somehow it's not free speech like the Duck Dynasty Dude's free speech. I'm sure there is some convoluted explanation that will come out of the right wing nut machine.

    December 19, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. Pheasant hunter

    What do you expect the liberal left media machine to print or distribute but subtle and negative jabs at the conservatives beginning with Palin. From there, it just morphs outward into something else. No facts, just emotion.

    December 19, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. Jules

    Remember the Dixie Chicks? You know what goes around comes around. It's can't be free speech when you agree with it and not free speech when you don't. You just keep talking GOP and you'll just talk yourself right out of any headway you have made in the last month.

    December 19, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Palin sure didn't like when people used the word "retard" but I guess because it offends her, it has to be wrong

    December 19, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  20. greenaxe

    I'm sure beardie feels a whole lot better being supported by tweedle dumb and tweedle dumber.

    December 19, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. John Dinn

    Why not keep his personal opinions to himself?

    December 19, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. tcmil_007

    Juan Espinosa
    Phil, you are my hero. Love your show!
    gee Thanks, Juan. Oh, by the way. I hate illegals also – Phil

    December 19, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. Gary

    Robertson can certainly say what he believes. But A&E can also fire him for offending a segment of its audience. (Phil, Gilbert Godfried on line 1.)

    December 19, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. john

    and Judith, you prove that even a liberal idiot has a right to free speech. And it certainly amuses me that Sarah Palin upsets you so. Means she is doing everything right by me.

    December 19, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. Bob

    it's not free speech. When disparaging comments are made toward the whole group of people. These comments were not a right or religious freedom. Try saying negative things about blacks, Jews, Catholics, Asians any other group and see the reaction. In my opinion ones. Religious convictions should be kept to oneself. Such speech inflames hate and bigotry. The Scriptures that he paraphrased can be interpreted in different ways. Infidelity and promiscuously are possible interpretations of this Christian Scripture. If these so-called Christians follow Christ's teachings of love and acceptance, the world would be a better place to live.

    December 19, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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