Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin issued statements on Thursday in support of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson, who was suspended from the A&E show “indefinitely” on Wednesday for statements he made about gays in a magazine interview.
On Facebook, Palin said the suspension is an attack on freedom of speech.
“Free speech is an endangered species,” she posted, alongside a photo of herself with the “Duck Dynasty” cast. “Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal also voiced support for his embattled constituents. 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.”
“Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV,” Jindal said in a statement. “In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views.”
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.”
“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.
“His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”
In an interview in the January issue of GQ, Robertson says homosexuality is a sin and puts it in the same category as bestiality and promiscuity.
“It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical,” he’s quoted as saying.
Asked what, in his mind, is sinful, Robertson replied: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”
He also made comments regarding race and growing up in Louisiana before the civil rights era.
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field. … They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’ — not a word!
“Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues,” GQ quotes Robertson as saying.
Geraldo Rivera also responded to the criticism of Robertson.
“Suspending Duck Dynasty guy for anti-gay remarks is ridiculous and excessive. It’s like suspending someone on South Park or Sponge Bob,” Rivera tweeted.
“Duck Dynasty” follows a Louisiana bayou family that has “made a fortune on duck calls,” as A&E describes it.
Season 5 of is set to premiere January 15. According to A&E, its fourth season premiere in August drew nearly 12 million viewers to become the No. 1 nonfiction series telecast in cable history.