Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. Ted Cruz are defending Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson's free speech rights and decrying the backlash over the reality TV star's anti-gay comments.
Robertson was put on "indefinite hiatus" by A&E from the hit reality show after making anti-gay remarks in GQ magazine. The hit show about a Louisiana family — known for its Duck Commander hunting call — draws an average of 14 million viewers each episode.
Jindal and Cruz, both Republicans and potential 2016 presidential candidates, joined former Alaska governor Sarah Palin in siding with Robertson's First Amendment rights.
"If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over the treatment of Phil Robertson," Cruz, R-Texas, wrote on his Facebook page. "Phil expressed his personal views and his own religious faith; for that he was suspended from his job.
"In a free society, anyone is free to disagree with him — but the mainstream media should not behave as the thought police censoring the views with which they disagree," Cruz said.
Jindal said in a statement that Robertson and his family are "great citizens" of Louisiana. The governor took issue with individuals who condemn people with opposing viewpoints and essentially chastised A&E — without naming the network specifically — for being politically correct.
"The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with," Jindal said. "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," he continued. "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."
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