Fox News host and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee attempted to defend suspended Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson on Monday by fudging the definition of “hate speech.”
“Say what you think, say what you believe,” Huckabee said. “Don’t shut down the voice of somebody else. ‘Cause what Phil said was not directed toward an individual.”
In reality, multiple dictionary definitions of “hate speech” note that it can include members of a community at large when it attacks them based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender.
Huckabee expanded on his point by striking a contrast between the criticism directed toward Robinson and the conservative outrage that led to the resignation of Martin Bashir from MSNBC after saying on the air that Sarah Palin should be put through a punishment used on slaves involving the eating of human excrement.
“No, big difference,” Huckabee asserted. “Martin Bashir was speaking very specifically about an individual, and that was, in fact, hate speech, because it was targeted toward a person.”
At the time, Bashir explained his remarks by saying they were a response to her continued invocation of the term “slavery” in the wrong context. Before leaving the network, he apologized, saying they “have brought shame upon my friends and colleagues at this network, none of whom were responsible for the things that I said.”
Meanwhile, Robertson has refused to apologize, insisting that his remarks to GQ magazine — in which he compared homosexuality to bestiality while also saying “a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s an*s” — were couched in his religious beliefs, a stance Huckabee backed on Monday.
“What Phil said was simply a matter of his opinion based on Scripture,” Huckabee said. “Which is not really all that off-the-wall of an opinion.”
Huckabee did not mention which sections of the Bible would cover Robertson’s assertions that Black Americans were “godly” and “happy” in Jim Crow-era Louisiana, or that “no one was singing the blues.”
Watch Huckabee’s remarks, as aired Monday, below.