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. Gina

    It's interesting to me how Paula Dean and Phil Robertson get scrutinized for saying their opinion and major backlash but Kanye West can talk all day long and we still have to see his sorry face every day. Blurred Lines. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion. Is this not America? What have we become? I stand by you Phil Robertson for defending your rights!

    December 19, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. gb0423

    Two intellectual lightweights like Palin and Jindal defending this moron...he certainly has a right to spout inane and hateful comments and his employer has a right to fire him.

    December 19, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. jon wilson

    Yep, It's a reality show about Phil and the rest of the crew. If they can't handle the "real" reality of Phil which is supposed to be what the show is about. They should have stopped the show when they ran the pilot. Regardless of what Phil said If they don't take him back. A&E's ratings or going right down the tubes.

    December 19, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Jackson

    John, Texas

    If A&E wants to be high jacked by Activist Liberal groups, that is there prerogitive. It's a private business that can make decisions of this nature. As consumers, we can support A&Es decision or not with our viewership. I would be willing to wager howeve,r that the majority of Duck Dynasty's viewers are not card carryijng members of GLAAD. However A&E has other programs that are watched by the intolerant left. Sounds like a great opportunity for Duck Dynasty to move it's program to CMT.


    If a FOX News employee gave an interview in which they discussed their support for gay marriage, discussed how they are pro-abortion, and feel the coservative platform is hypocritical, how long would FOX News keep that person around?

    See, you only complain when people who share your opinion are hurt. You have no interest in fairness across the board.

    Just goes to show the old adage "it only ok if you're a republican"

    December 19, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    Again – For those of you saying his first amendment rights have been compromised are wrong. Please understand the amendment.

    Might I add they also learn to understand business contracts, which one presumes both A&E and Phil Robertson entered into prior to putting Duck Dynasty on air? A&E has every right to insist on a certain public demeanor and Phil Robertson had every right to not sign a contract he disagreed with or felt he could not live up to. That being said, he is now facing his own consequences of not living up to his business agreement with A&E.

    December 19, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. TheyCallMe

    Was wondering when SP would show up

    December 19, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  7. PaulB

    Number one, this dude is one GIANT liar. I'm nearly his age and I spent some of my growing up years in Alabama. The "N" word flew freely amongst the white folk of Alabama – I guarantee the same was true in Louisiana. He's just one of the revisionist racist types who try to claim black people were better off during slavery. It's why virtually NO black people vote republican. Idiots like this, who think no one can tell they are racist through and through, and NO-ONE can tell. That's why they are so stupid. Good luck America! This is what we've come to.

    December 19, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  8. A Voice in the Wilderness

    Like Gov. Jindal, I agree that the Duck Commander has a right to present his viewpoint, regardless of how i may feel about them (I disagree with them in many, many ways), and so he said them in the GQ article.. However, A&E has the right, as the owner of the network presenting the show to suspend Mr. Robertson for it's own resons.

    A&E is a business. Its function is to make money for its shareholders, if A&E deems the best way to make money for its shareholders is to suspend Mr. Robertson, so be it. Why would anyone thing there is any other motivation other than money.

    We live an a capitalistic society. The very society Ms. Palin and Gov. Jindal profess to promote. Perhaps they want to regulate how businesses treat their employees and leave to the individual unfettered freedoms.

    December 19, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. Chris Hernandez

    It two-sided... I believe, as much as I disagree with this individual, that he has a right to believe any way he wants to. Whatever gets him through his life journey and as long as it doesn't negatively impact our LGBT citizens, then let him spout off. We who think differently, probably do not even watch the show, will have another reason not to do so. And while I feel that as a dumb financial choice for A&E to cancel a money-maker, they have a right as a private business to air what they want. At my job, I have way different beliefs, and I keep my mouth shut, because none of them are worth losing my job. Phil feels proud of them, so let him stand up and be the martyr that he wants, but A&E has a right as a business to do as it pleases, no matter how dumb they can be to some. It is not like the government had anything to do with it...

    December 19, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Doug

    Bigotry is not acceptable. Cloaking it in the name of religion does not make it okay and only shows the speaker has a warped sense of God. People used to use the Bible to justify slavery since the Bible contained rules regarding slaves.

    It's time people stop using religion to justify hatred. Read the Gospels. They speak of love, not hatred.

    People often selectively cite the Old Testament passages regarding gay people while refusing to support similarly absurd advice regarding others, such as victims of incestuous acts of child abuse needing to be put to death in addition to their perpetrators.

    December 19, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. JacinJax

    So it seems Jindal wants to be President of the United States but doesn't understand that the First Amendment says the government can't prohibit speech and has nothing to do with a business. And I guess Jindal agrees with Daddy Duck that blacks were happier under Jim Crow segregation. Glad to find out how he feels now before he starts campaigning for POTUS.

    December 19, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  12. semper fi

    I did not know the LGBT and Gay community valued his opinion so much or even watched his show. If he made his remarks in the Field and Stream Mag this would never have come up.

    December 19, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Geekus Genus

    Nothing surprises me anymore. It will get worse and soon their won't be any religion cause the governments will be controlled by immoral men & women vanquishing any religion institutions that refuse to change with the times.

    December 19, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. Tom B

    Maybe Jindal would feel differently if Phil had said the same thing but substituted "people of Asian descent" instead of "gays"? Or ""Start with Palin behavior and just morph out from there." Phil can say what he wants...but he needs to understand there are consequences that anyone pays as a result of saying bigoted remarks.

    December 19, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  15. Denise

    Maybe this will start something.....get rid of all of the assinine reality shows. I saw an ad for a new one on TLC the other day "Fiancee for 90 Days" or something to that effect. What public service do these so called reality stars do? They're almost as worthless as Wall Street stockbrokers or right wing radio hosts....

    December 19, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. Thomas

    @mike lenberger
    Where was all this talk about limiting the "freedom of speech" when the Dixie Chicks were ruined because of their comments. Where were you then, Sarah?


    Thank you for refreshing our memory !

    December 19, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. Kevin

    I stand with Phil

    December 19, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. Denise

    I do applaud EIB for keeping the biggest racist around on for years......capitalism at its best!

    December 19, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  19. angeson

    It scares me to believe that I am on the same side of a issue with Jindal or Palin.

    December 19, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  20. barryinlasvegas

    It's only freedom of speech if you agree with the gay. Screw A&E.

    December 19, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  21. quinLee

    I have wayyy more respect for the Duck Dynasty guy than I do for Palin, Jindal and all the other "if lips moving I'm lying" crowd. The guy gave an HONEST opinion of what he believes and has experience. I may not agree, but I respect that.

    December 19, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. tony

    How quickly they they lie to those who forgot.

    Palin and most convservatives have definitely had companies remove employes for criticising them.

    The Gecko voice of Geico Insurance for Starters

    December 19, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Anonymous
    Your perogative to continue watching as it is mine to drop them like they were hot.
    Meanwhile what is inexplicable is how you managed to inject the President into this topic.
    Inexplicable but not surprising.

    December 19, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. Derrek Rodriguez

    I don’t agree with him using the words homosexuality and bestiality in the same sentence, but whom am I to judge the man or even label him a racist. He spoke his mind and like a big boy he is taking the heat. He also seems to have overwhelming support. As a minority who has experienced racial discrimination, I find it fascinating that the gay community garnishes so much courtesy in the media, while Hispanics, Christians and other races are still stereotyped in today’s so called main stream media. But wait, next year is a midterm election year and the open-minded party will be out wooing us once again. Making promises that they can’t keep. Allowing millions of people to come to this country so that they can be exploited and live in fear. Meanwhile promising equality while indoctrinating us into a system of dependency. How racist is that?

    December 19, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. Brian

    Sarah Palin is the most under educated person on the political landscape. She doesn't have a clue. Most of the time she just rambles on, and winds up far from her original point of context. As far as the statements made by Robertson, I feel he has the right to express his opinion. Because of his opinion, I would never patronize any business he is associated with since his opinions are offensive to me. The company he works for (A&E) recognizes the damage their employee is doing, and fired him. Freedom of speech AND the free enterprise seem to be working in perfect harmony from my perspective.

    December 19, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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