A&E’s decision to suspend “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson shows that the network "didn't want reality TV," said Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, Thursday on "The Kelly File."
But Jeremy Hooper, a special projects consultant for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said the network's decision, which came Wednesday after Robertson’s controversial remarks about homosexuality were made public, was merely an employer disciplining someone whose language ran counter to company policy.
“This is not a free speech issue,” Hooper told Megyn Kelly. “What the defenders of Phil Robertson are seeking is freedom from consequence. None of us are entitled to that.”
As for Robertson’s link between “homosexual behavior” and bestiality as “sinful” behavior, Hooper said those comments hurt him personally.
“He said someone like me is the equivalent of someone who has sex with animals,” Hooper said.
But Perkins countered that Robertson’s religious views, and those of his southern family, reflect the opinion of many Americans.
“If (A&E) didn’t want the Robertson family to talk about who they are, what they believe and why they believe it, then they really didn’t want reality TV,” Perkins said.
And regardless of one’s views of Robertson’s comments, Perkins said they reflect a sizable opinion that remains in the United States today.
“The reason this show is so popular is because they are real, and they have a set of values that is grounded in scripture, which many people across this country still subscribe to,” Perkins said.