After Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson claimed LGBT people were illogical “sinners” and equated homosexuality to bestiality, prostitution, adultery, alcoholism, and terrorism in an interview with GQ magazine, he was promptly suspended from the reality series by A&E.
But in the wake of his suspension, a wave of supporters have rushed to defend Robertson — including the governor of Louisiana, where the Robertson family lives.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal released an official statement Thursday morning supporting Robertson’s First Amendment right to free speech and voicing his disappointment in A&E for choosing to suspend the reality show star.
“Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana,” Jindal wrote. “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. 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. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”
Jindal, a Republican who many suspect has aspirations toward national office, published the statement on the govenror's official website Thursday, then promoted it with six separate tweets as of this article's publication.
But Jindal wasn't the only conservative incensed over what he perceived as left-wing disregard for the First Amendment. Former vice presidential hopeful Sarah Palin was also quick to join the flock of daddy duck supporters on Wednesday night, tweeting, “Free speech is endangered species; those 'intolerants' hatin' & taking on Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing personal opinion take on us all.”
Fox's Megyn Kelly questioned Robertson’s dismissal, saying, “Now he’s gone … that will certainly shut down the debate,” on Fox News Wednesday. “Why can’t there be a debate about it? Why can’t there be a back and forth, a discussion … instead of ‘you are fired?’”
Despite the fact that he was personally offended by Robertson’s antigay remarks, out gay anchorman Don Lemon said he disapproved of the network’s decision to suspend the Duck Dynasty star.
“It’s offensive, [but] I do believe in the right to free speech,” Lemon said on Piers Morgan Live. “I think the marketplace should decide what happens to this franchise.”
TMZ also lashed out at A&E, saying the network was aware of Robertson’s antigay views long before Duck Dynasty first aired. The website posted video of a 2010 sermon Robertson delivered at Berean Bible Church in Pennsylvania, in which he refers to LGBT people as shameful, perverse, heartless, faithless, senseless God-haters. “A&E hired Robertson,” writes TMZ, “then allowed him to do an interview with GQ where it HAD to know the reporter would ask questions about his feelings toward gays ... and then when he answered honestly, A&E punished Robertson.”
Watch Robertson's 2010 antigay sermon in the video below.