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December 19th, 2013
01:16 PM ET

'Duck Dynasty' star's controversial remarks: free speech or bigotry?

Phil Robertson, A&E's 'Duck Dynasty' patriarch and self-proclaimed Bible-thumper made some controversial remarks in an interview with GQ magazine where he compared homosexuality to bestality. In response, A&E has put the reality star on indefinite suspension.' Carol sat down with Russell Moore from The Southern Baptist Liberty Convention and Michelangelo Signorele, editor-at-large at Huffington Post Gay Voices to answer the the question, was this hate speech or free speech?

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Filed under: Carol Costello • CNN Newsroom
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. carl

    all of these people complaining about Phils comments are the same people who cried out for the right to speak out and say that they are gay and that we should acknowledge them as such. if you expect people to respect your right to voice your belief that you are in the right for being gay, you should respect others right to believe that you are not

    December 19, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
  2. Alexandros

    You know what I believe it is because he is white from the south. I am not american, and i am happy not to be american just because the way you treat your selfs. if there is true freedom of speech then that means anyone can say what they want. But no if you are white, black, green, yellow, brown, you all do not have the right to say anything because you are not true americans, why because you are not native AMERICANS, you can say you are people living in a former land which made your home in north america. You all build your selfs on the constitution of your for fathers well, your four fathers are looking at you all in sadness because you lost your ways. that is what makes america great saying what you think and having it that way. duck dynasty did not give his OPINION HE SAID WHAT HE THOUGHT AN IDEA THAT COULD AND WILL CHANGE. That is where you people down south in the states are clouded. you are all are out for each other and out for blood, well i think you should all change religion and then you have the right to cut off each others head.................... you americans are on your way, right on and way to go..............

    IT IS JUST BECAUSE DUCK DYNASTY IS A EASY TARGET. WELLYOU SHOULD BE WORRIED ABOUT THE SMALL PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY ARE GOING AND KILL YOUR KIDS IN SCHOOLS. IS THAT BECAUSE THEY WHATCH DUCK DYNASTY????????

    December 19, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
  3. Pat

    Phil was ASKED his opinion! This is different from recent cases where offenders bought up the subject and spouted off. #DuckUnderFire

    December 19, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
  4. katherine sll

    I have watched with horror as our society has watched celebrities like Miley Cirus encourage people to take a path to hell with drugs and promiscuity. Once a Disney darling, now encouraged by the media to behave poorly. Phil Robertson is a Christian who was referencing the Bible in hopes of leading people to eternity in heaven... How did our country get its moral values so screwed up?
    REAL Christians don't hate !

    December 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  5. David Head

    Ok...I'm all for a discussion about the Phil Robertson thing, but in the name of journalistic integrity, you have to have someone outside the CNN bubble and who at least understands the thought source from which his comments arise. Lemon's assertion that all religion is about "live and let live" would be laughable if he were not utterly serious. There are millions of Christians who operate from a different perspective and should be allowed to speak for themselves. You're just talking to yourselves and not close to reporting this issue.

    December 19, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
  6. Matthew Bonneau

    My god. The very headline of this article is inept. Free speech and bigotry are not mutually exclusive. For example, a rally of the KKK, while offensive, is free speech no matter how bigoted the slogans they chant. I would expect someone in the journalism field to know better. This is still America; a country where all beliefs are welcome, even if they are disagreed with by a majority of those who hear them.

    December 19, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  7. Name*jc smith

    This man is a man of God as am I. The problem with society in a world of you is that we do not follow God's laws. until we submit to God's laws not man's we will always have problems. God's laws for us as humans are in the Bible the Bible is the blueprint for Humanity. be careful don't get wrapped up in the trappings of Satan this is Satan's world immerse yourself in God and His love

    December 19, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
  8. Justin Elzie

    If Phil had said something racist against blacks, people you can bet people wouldn't be saying he had a right to free speech. Racist / homophobic comments are the same.

    December 19, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
  9. Mark

    That was just his opinion

    December 19, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
  10. sharon

    He likened homosexuality to bestiality, likened gays to drunks & prostitutes. He said sin starts from homosexual behavior and just morphs from there. Sleeping around with this woman, and that woman and those men. He said he worked in the cotton fields in the south and never saw any mistreatment of black people, that the blacks worked for the farmers and they were singing and happy. I'm 66. I know what it was like in the South. He is an obvious bigot and actually not very Christian. He should follow the Pope's teachings. This is the 21st century. Bigotry should end.

    December 19, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
  11. Susan Cribb

    The way the world is today, if you think about, is frighten. It really makes one think when you see big corporations, extremely rich, insurance companies, and yes our own government all want to be the leader and show their power, Even if we all don't all agree with them their wants are not necessarily ours. The only real power any human being can hold on to is their own heart felt beliefs in hopes they are right. As for me and my family we're glad to still have all our freedoms speech and the right to our own religion, an to be proud Americans . So before you judge another for his beliefs," THINK ABOUT IT"' is this really who I 'am. GOD IS THE SAME TODAY AS HE WAS YESTERDAY, THROUH HIM ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE TO THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN HIM. This is what me and my family live by. DUCK DINESTY is the most refreshing family program on TV today. YOU GO PHIL – much Christian love to you and yours. hours

    December 20, 2013 at 11:56 am |
  12. Susan

    This may be a no win discussion. But I am appalled at the license that is given liberals to misquote the Bible. They cherry pick and edit in the most flagrant way to support their hatred of believers. They are without context or authority as they twist scripture. Standards of journalism, which expects grounded background, is absent. For instance, could someone tell these “experts” that Christians are not under the same Old Testament law governing diet, judgement and separation. If you take a good, long and informed look at Phil’s quotes, you may find a very different message than what CNN reports.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
  13. Sherry

    The editor is incorrect in saying that slavery is supported by the Bible and that it s full of other things our society doesn't except. Slavery was not supported by God. Many Christians were slaves under the Roman Empire. The isrealites were slaves under the egyptians. The bible does give instruction on how slaves are to be treated because during Old Testament times slavery was a way of life. Jewish law said a man should be executed if he sold another man or kidnapped him. Trying to discredit the Bible so that quoting it is seen as not a viable stance on issues won't work. It is the holy, inspired word of God.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  14. victoria

    he didn't say anything about men or women that is not in the bible check your sources (Leviticus in the bible) And his comment about blacks was taken and ripped apart and misconstrued from what I read in the article all he was saying was where he grew up blacks and whites both worked fields side by side. where blacks and whites were treated the same he wasn't exposed to racial tension that was being experience in the big cities

    December 21, 2013 at 1:17 am |
  15. jill16081517

    Really, freedom of speech only implies that you can say what you want, doesn't mean that their aren't consequences to what you have to say. He works for a corporation like A&E who has standards. These standards mean that you can be fired for saying derogatory things. Since he used the slippery slope in his interview I will too, if a corporation is forced to allow these degrading comments about sexual orientation, soon they will be forced to allow sexist comments, sexual harassment, verbal harassment, racist comments and verbal bullying. In order to make a work place civil, one has to have a contract that usually states comments like this are not acceptable. Freedom of speech only means that a person can't be arrested for stating opinion, it doesn't mean that you can't be fired from a company or suffer any other consequences.
    This is my time for freedom of speech: I am a Christian and I don't agree with hate being carried out in the name of God.

    December 21, 2013 at 2:18 am |
  16. Nathan

    This is the first time I have ever disliked gay guys, he did not even say being gay leads to beastieality, he said that he feels that it is just as much of a sin and that IS HIS RIGHT.
    I am just going to laugh at the lil frail community that made this big deal when thanks to you all our rights are taken away and you have to only live in a state where men sodomizing other men is legal, because you made states have to decide one way or the other on everything and no one have the freedom to express themselves.
    (If your not a boo hoping guy guy this comment does not apply to you, you have the right to live how you want, unless We The People would like to make this not a free country, but a dictatorship. Then we can all say someone is braking the law and should be punished for talking if that is what the law states..

    Lets get stupid now,
    Lots of People in the south love jacked up, gas chugging big trucks and I know there are a lot of gay guys in groups that are discriminating agents these people even though they are bing law abiding citizens and doing nothing wrong by driving there trucks. You guys are HATING, Should you get suspended from your job because you said you this my truck is killing the planet ? your calling us murders, you just called me Hitler "Oh My, Waaaaaa"

    Until the law is passed, that it is illegal for a person to say they think being guy is as bad as Beastieality, Driving A Jacked Up Truck, Cannibalism or Wearing Black & Brown to the Oscars we should not suspend a person from their job, they did nothing unlawful !

    December 21, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
  17. Robyn

    Hey guys! How about you pay less mind to a Duck Dynasty squabble and pay more attention to what our government is doing while these diversions are taking place. If you aren't aware that NDAA just passed again, it further proves how lazy and uninformed Americans truly are.

    December 22, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
  18. cetude

    Combining religious fanaticism with HATE can easily lead to violence. This is no different than ISLAM. Gays are often targets of hate crimes by religious zealots. Leviticus 20:13 "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them." (Leviticus 20:13 King James Version). Networks and businesses are very irresponsible to allow the perpetuation of hate by supporting Duck Dynasty. According to FBI statistics gays (particularly gay men) are often targets of hate crimes.

    December 23, 2013 at 7:17 am |
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