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. Donald

    No one interfered with Phil Robertsons right to free speech. What we are witnessing are the consequences associated with speaking your mind to a large public audience. We went through this last year with the Chick-fil-a COO. You can dish it out anytime. Can you take it?

    December 19, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  2. Bruce

    Christians need to stand up and fight this one. This is nothing but another attempt to silence Christians and Christian principles in this country. I will never watch anything on A&E again if they don't apologize to Phil and put him back on the show. That's if the entire family hasn't already decided to go find another network. That wouldn't surprise me a bit. How is it that less than 10% of the people can dictate policy concerning what the rest of us can do???? This is a country founded on Christian values and the concept of political correctness has done nothing but put us in a death spiral.

    December 19, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. carissa

    It's one thing to express a personal opinion that is bigoted to someone on a personal level, but to highlight that opinion on a national scale is another. Research has shown that the Bible was a socially and politically constructed by men to control mass population. The books in the bible were written centuries after christ by fallible men. Anyone who regurgitate s what they read is doing just that. Repeating. Investigation of the truth is all that matters. Besides, no human is capable of comprehending or determining what God does or does not like. Anyone who does so is only talking about themselves.

    December 19, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  4. floridares

    Hey Palin and Jindal, as far as I can see, Robertson's right to speak his mind is intact BUT the First Amendment does not say that there consequences can' t follow what he says. If he had said there was no God, you would not have vilified him and never mentioned the First Amendment.

    December 19, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  5. KenneyP of Colorado

    Sarah Palin and company should keep tge 1st amendment in mind when people express their opinion about them. Robertson might be expressing the same values that millions of Americans hold however the network is focused in the BILLIONS of people he is offending.

    Robertson has the right to hold his personal views and no one is taking those biews away from him. As a representative of the network he has to put his personal views aside.

    These politicians that are speaking out are catering to the extreme right-wing and exclusionary part of the GOP. This is why they can't seem to capture a majority of the electorate.

    December 19, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  6. KenneyP of Colorado

    Sarah Palin and company should keep the 1st amendment in mind when people express their opinion about them. Robertson might be expressing the same values that millions of Americans hold however the network is focused in the BILLIONS of people he is offending.

    Robertson has the right to hold his personal views and no one is taking those biews away from him. As a representative of the network he has to put his personal views aside.

    These politicians that are speaking out are catering to the extreme right-wing and exclusionary part of the GOP. This is why they can't seem to capture a majority of the electorate.

    December 19, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  7. Kim

    Why are they defending this guy, he's a hillbilly, no one defended Paula Deen this way.

    December 19, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  8. dpatt

    This man I am sure signed a contract and knew not to say anything that could cause issues for A&E. Yes he has the right to say what is on his mind and speak his opinions but according to our government, employers don't have to have a reason to fire you. So he had no chance to start with.
    As for what he said It was his opinion and would not even be news if he was not getting famous.

    December 19, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  9. Peter

    So what if he had compared Christians to say Nazi's? Think idiots like Palin and Cruz would be trumpeting free speech then? Of course not. They would be like villagers with torches and pitchforks. And in case no one noticed he WAS allowed to express his opinion. Right there in black and white in the magazine. Then A&E availed itself of its right not to employ a small minded bigot. See? There system works perfectly. Meantime, anyone who buys into the politicaly motivated manufactured outrage of people like Cruz and Palin should not be allowed to vote.

    December 19, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. works4me

    These "three" have the very same IQ as Robertson... below 40

    December 19, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Since Palin, Cruz, and Jindal are all about individual's right to make their own decisions and taking responsibility for their own actions AND for private businesses to be able to make unfettered decisions about how they run their businesses and who to fire, hire, and serve they SHOULD be all for A&E running their business they way they want and for firing an individual that they believe did not and does not represent them, their advertisers, and their viewers. AND they should tell Robertson to "suck it up and take responsibility for his own actions that resulted in his suspension and possible termination". Of course then again Palin, Cruz, and Jindal are ONLY for personal decisions and personal responsibility when it fits into their own agenda.

    December 19, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  12. cbp

    I guess it matters to whom the politically incorrect statement is made. Some are offensive and some are not? Being respectful of others feelings is not politically correct, it is correct. Is there a reason that someone needs to make these remarks? Does it improve the quality of the show?

    December 19, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. JesseG

    You know...this has nothing to do with political correctness, or the right, or the left. The producers of the show feel his remarks are going to cost them money, and that's that.

    Their move to suspend him had nothing to do with "caving to the gay lobby" or anything as stupid as that, it's pure profit. And they got what they paid for. it's all anyone's talking about. You've been played folks.

    December 19, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  14. GOP = Greed Over People

    Funny, how when Bashir suggested a fecal sandwich for the tundra temptress, it was all about how vile and disgusting he was, not a peep about his "freedom of speech" only calls to fire him, NOW missy contends vile and disgusting statements from Robertson are expressions of "his right to free speech" and wants him reinstated on whatever show he is part of?

    GOP baggers, there are examples of both "hypocrisy" and "irony" in the above statement, as part of your "outreach" program, your task is to identify them both and correct, then folks may take you seriously, until then we understand you live by the IOKIYAR creed!

    December 19, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  15. Bear

    Intolerance disguised as free speech. The duck guy has the right to say what he wants, the network has the right to fire him. Religious right is everything that is wrong with this country.

    December 19, 2013 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  16. JudgeAndJury

    We all have friends who say some stupid stuff. You can say what you want and we can react how we want. The Duck boy is being judged by a Jury of his peers. Say loser crap and you will be branded a loser!

    December 19, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  17. dpatt

    As for Palin our government was actually started by religion, religion helped decide what was moral and what was not.
    Freedom of speech has always been in danger but not endangered by who most people think. When you say something an assume no one is allowed to disagree with you then freedom of speech is in danger.

    December 19, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  18. StephenR

    The network is a private enterprise and has a right to choose to censor their shows/actors. Duh. Someone would have to be brain-dead not to see that.

    The hilarious hypocrisy here is how conservatives only care about the rights of private business when they agree with their message. As soon as they disagree, they reveal how hypocritical their beliefs truly are. They are merely political opportunists who only care about scoring political points, no matter what the issue.

    December 19, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  19. Ybsnad

    What ind of person is proud of their god and their religion that hates?

    December 19, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    What about the comment and denying the suffering of black people in south?No one menetioned it so far

    December 19, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  21. Guest

    really if what Phil said offends gays what about two men or women kissing on television that offends many , we don't want our children seeing that nonsense

    December 19, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  22. Jay

    And those who hate straight people can continue their assaults and ridicule on family values and the Religions.

    December 19, 2013 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  23. Dawena

    I don't agree with what Phil said, but I do agree with his right to say it. We better be careful when it comes to our right to free speech!

    December 19, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  24. Mike

    Are people forgetting his racist comments???

    December 19, 2013 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  25. MrManhattan

    Look how quickly the Rethugs turn "Socialist" when they don't agree with a private company's decision!'

    December 19, 2013 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
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