Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was wrong not to stand up for gays and blacks as he defended "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson's right to make controversial remarks about them, Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik believes.
"He's supposed to be governor of all the people of Louisiana. Nobody forced him to weigh in on the situation with Phil Robertson and his opinions," Hiltzik told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"But he did, and when he did, all he seemed to have to say was the defense of Phil Robertson's right to speak out, which isn't really at issue. He did nothing to defend the communities that had been the target of Phil Robertson's statements — the gay community, the black community."
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Last week, the A&E cable network suspended Robertson after he told GQ magazine: "Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong ... start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and those men."
The 67-year-old reality-show star also said he had picked cotton with African Americans as a youth in Louisiana and never saw “the mistreatment of any black person” — noting that they were “singing and happy” and that they did not complain about white people.
Jindal, a Republican, said media outlets were guilty of squashing the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.
"The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with," Jindal said in a statement.
"If Jindal was going to say anything, he really needed to stand up for those people and remind his citizens that gay people have all the civil rights of anybody else, that they're not perverts, they're not outliers," Hiltzik said.
"And that the history [of] Jim Crow in Louisiana … was not glorious, it was not Godly, it was not happy. It was a real issue of civil rights and people lost their lives and lost their freedom during that time."
"The point I'm making is that Phil Robertson in all of this is the guy who needs the least defense because he's got millions of dollars, he's got a hit television show, he's got 14 million followers . . . . nobody's going to silence Phil Robertson," Hiltzik said.
"But the people who [Robertson] attacked in his statements, the people who he denigrated, they need a defense and that's what Jindal should have said. If Jindal really is the governor of all of the people of Louisiana, those are the people who he needed to speak up for."
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