Television network A&E’s suspension of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson over offensive comments he made regarding homosexuality sparked a furious reaction on Fox New’s “The Kelly File” Wednesday night, with conservative radio host Monica Crowley calling Robertson a victim of the “word police.”
Crowley joined Democratic pollster Bernard Whitman and criminal defense lawyer Arthur Aidala to discuss Robertson’s “indefinite suspension” from the wildly popular reality TV show after anti-gay comments he made in a GQ interview sparked widespread outrage. Whitman briefly defended the suspension, saying he “applauds A&E for taking him off the show” and that his comments “fly in the face of what it means to be Christian.”
Aidala forcefully rejected that notion:
AIDALA: But it’s the United States of America. And this is what I fight for every day in the courtroom. When somebody may have actually committed a crime and they are factually guilty, but under the laws of our nation they are entitled to certain protections and to be prosecuted in a certain way. You know what, there is something called the First Amendment, and A&E is entitled to make the statement. These are his statements, this is not A&E –
WHITMAN: He’s not entitled to be on TV spewing hate! That is disgusting!
AIDALDA: No, you’re actually incorrect!
WHITMAN: He’s not!
AIDALA: Listen, there is case law on this, very solid case law on this –
WHITMAN: We are talking about the court of public opinion.
Aidala later called the decision “political correctness,” prompting Crowley to agree. “This is a classic example of the word police, political correctness, whatever you want to term it,” she said. “I’m not a fan of the word police. I believe in the United States of America you should be able to say what you want. It may be reprehensible, it may be offensive, but you should be able to say what you want short of inciting violence.”
For her part, Kelly worried that by suspending Robertson, A&E was “shutting down the debate” between fundamentalist Christians and homosexuals. “Why can’t there be a debate about it?” she asked. “Why can’t there be a back-and-forth, a discussion — you know, that’s how he feels, then you say how you feel? Instead of ‘You are fired!’ I mean, you’re basically canned, and no one else will feel comfortable saying similar things.”
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