Yesterday GQ magazine released an interview with Phil Robertson, star of A&E's hit TV show Duck Dynasty, where the 67-year-old Louisiana duck hunter made graphic and vile homophobic comments in which he compared homosexuality to bestiality, terrorism, and pedophilia. The network quickly reverted to damage-control mode, releasing a statement from Robinson clarifying his views ("I would never treat anyone with disrespect," he said) but not apologizing for them.
Robertson's hatred wasn't limited to the LGBT community, though. He also expounded about race, claiming that black people were oh-so-happy picking cotton in the Jim Crow 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."
Last night, as outrage over Robinson's ugly comments continued to build, A&E placed Robertson on indefinite hiatus.
And the right wing -- from Westboro Baptist Church to Sarah Palin to the National Organization for Marriage -- flipped the hell out.
Palin, as is her custom, vented her folksy anger on Facebook:
Even though Robertson's comments focused on gay sex and had nothing whatsoever to do with same-sex marriage, the so-called National Organization for Marriage jumped on the outrage bandwagon early this morning, seizing the opportunity to pad their email list and broaden their shrinking base.
The gay lobby bullies are at it again. This time they've attacked one of the most popular Christians in America -- Phil Robertson, patriarch of Duck Dynasty's Robertson family. They are calling him "vile" and say he is pushing "extreme stereotypes" and "lies." The grossly misnamed Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and their Hollywood ally GLAAD have demanded that Phil be punished and, incredibly, Wednesday night A&E succumbed to the gay bullies and suspended Phil Robertson!
Well guess what -- homosexuality IS a sin in the bible, and virtually every other sacred text out there. Engaging in homosexual sex IS considered by God to be sinful according to the teachings of most religions. And sin is NOT logical. Sin is deceitful, harmful and degrading to the human soul.
Oh, and they'd like you to sign their petition please.
Bryan Fischer, who called Robertson a "new American hero" in an hours-long Twitter rant, claimed the star was the victim of "the bullies and bigots of Big Gay" and slammed A&E for so-called "heterophobic, anti-Christian values." Thrice-divorced talk radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh said "the long knives are out for Phil Robertson" and condemned equality supporters for "[busting] up the definition of marriage."
The Westboro Baptist Church, of "God hates f*gs"
fame infamy, praised Robertson for applying "the Bible standard," and FOX News's Megyn Kelly -- fresh off a racially-charged kerfuffle of her own -- also took up for the TV star.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal even got in on the action. His office released the following statement:
"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. 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"
David Badash has a great round-up of additional right-wing freakouts over at The New Civil Rights Movement.
Holy privilege tantrums, Batman! This "controversy" is a whole lot of nonsense. "Freedom of speech" does not mean that a person is free from the consequences of that speech. Just as Phil Robertson is free to spew whatever bigoted garbage he likes, A&E is free to suspend or fire him if his ugly homophobic and racist comments are not in line with the image they want to broadcast into living rooms across America.
Because while the First Amendment protects the freedom of speech, it does not guarantee a constitutional right to appear on television.