December 19, 2013 7:48am PT by THR Staff
'Duck Dynasty' Controversy: Louisiana Gov. Defends Phil Robertson
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has defended Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson after he made a number of homophobic comments that led to his suspension from his A&E reality show.
Jindal, the head of Robertson's home state, released a statement Thursday in which he suggests Robertson's suspension means networks no longer support free speech.
"I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment," Jindal writes. "It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended."
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Jindal adds, "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."
"Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana," Jindal also states.
On Wednesday, A&E placed Robertson on indefinite suspension after he made anti-gay remarks in a recent GQ profile.
"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," A&E said in a statement. "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."
Robertson, however, will likely appear in season four of the show, which premieres Jan. 15, since production is largely wrapped.
In the magazine, the reality TV star uses lewd imagery to discuss why he doesn't understand homosexuality, which he goes on to call a sin and compare to bestiality.
"It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus," Robertson says in the January issue of GQ. "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."
Robertson is asked what he finds sinful. His answer: "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."
GLAAD on Wednesday condemned Robertson's remarks as "some of the vilest and most extreme statements uttered against LGBT people in a mainstream publication" and later commended A&E for swiftly suspending him.
"By taking quick action and removing Robertson from future filming, A&E has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value," GLAAD spokesperson Wilson Cruz said.
Robertson released his own statement in response to the controversy early Wednesday: "I myself am a product of the '60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the Bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."
The Robertson family made The Hollywood Reporter's 2013 Rule Breakers list, which hit newsstands Wednesday.
Phil's son Willie Robertson, who's featured on the cover, tells THR of the show's success: "It's a combination of the faith, the positive and the family aspect … and it's funny."
Adds his brother Jase Robertson: "We're just kind of doing what we do, and people identify with that."