'Duck Dynasty' Suspension: Fox News Hosts Defend Phil Robertson

Sean Hannity called A&E's decision to pull the embattled reality star from the hit show a "slippery slope," while Megyn Kelly asked: "Why can't there be a debate about it?"
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Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity

Several Fox News Channel hosts and commentators came to the defense of Duck Dynasty family patriarch Phil Robertson on air Wednesday.

A&E placed Robertson on indefinite hiatus after he made anti-gay remarks in an interview with GQ, causing an uproar and sparking criticism from gay advocacy groups GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign.

On Hannity, host Sean Hannity said it was a "slippery slope" to begin firing people over things they said, adding he never advocated for the firings of liberals -- including Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir -- who got in trouble for controversial comments.

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Megyn Kelly said on The Kelly File that Robertson's indefinite hiatus preemptively stopped any conversation that might have arisen from his comments.

"He is a Christian man -- I grant you he did not say in the kindest way -- but why can't there be a debate about it? Why can't there be a discussion … instead of 'you are fired.'"

Later, she said the clash between fundamentalist Christians and the gay and lesbian community has yet to reach resolution, implying this could be because the discussion never takes place.

"Fundamentalist Christians don't believe in homosexuality and they've been so critical of it. And the gay and lesbian community has said 'that's intolerance' and then they [Christians] say 'well you're being intolerant of our beliefs.'" Kelly said. "We've seen this clash over and over. [It's] yet to be resolved."

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But several of Kelly's panelists sided with A&E and its decision.

Democratic pollster Bernard Whitman told Kelly that Robertson's comment's were "disgusting" and said it "flies in the face of what it means to be Christian." He applauded A&E for its response.

Conservative commentator Monica Crowley said she was "not a fan of the word police," but said A&E was within its rights to take action.

"You should be able to say what you want short of inciting violence," Crowley said. "A&E, though, has certain standards in practices. As an employee of A&E, A&E then has a right to say 'what he said doesn't suit us.'"

Earlier in the day, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin tweeted her own defense of Robertson.

"Free speech is endangered species; those 'intolerants' hatin' & taking on Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing personal opinion take on us all," Palin tweeted.

Robertson, whose family's show regularly draws nine million-plus viewers for A&E, came under fire on Wednesday for comments he made in a recent interview with GQ.

"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 the men's magazine. "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 will likely appear in season four of Duck Dynasty, which premieres on Jan. 15, as production is largely wrapped.