FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 05: Reality TV personality Phil Robertson greets fans in the Duck Commander Compound at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. Jerry Markland/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway
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"My intent was not to offend anybody."
Civilian senior management officials at Eglin Air Force base in Eglin, Florida, were reportedly under fire recently after a union representing federal employees took issue with their public support for "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson.
According to conservative commentator Todd Starnes, the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees took aim at the two employees for putting "I Support Phil" decals on their personal vehicles.
The union also said that one of the senior officials displayed a decal in his office and offered one to a subordinate who apparently objected.
Phil and Si Robertson take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 6, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Jerry Markland/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
"The BUE (bargaining union employee) was clearly offended and disgusted that a senior management official would display the decal on their pod," read an email that Alan Cooper, executive vice president of the local union chapter, purportedly sent to members.
Cooper, who reportedly also wrote that the decals could be a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, told Starnes that the union is offended over the senior officials' actions, considering the power and sway they have in hiring and management.
"These two particular individuals have a great amount of influence over individuals who may be gay, who may be African-American," Cooper said. "And we have a concern they should not be in a position to exert that influence when it comes to promotions."
The union leader added that he wants the two senior civilian employees removed from their positions, Starnes reported.
One of these individuals, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that union members took pictures of his license plate and truck and sent them to hundreds of members. He also described his motivation for the decal, saying that he's "pro-family" and "pro-life."
"My intent was not to offend anybody. My intent was to support the show and to show support for his Christian values," he said, noting that he has no plans to remove it. "I’m not taking it off. If they want to make me retire early that’s what I’ll do. But I’m not backing down."
But it appears that, despite the union's frustrations, the two employees were found by the Air Force base to be well within their free speech rights in displaying the Robertson decal.
Reality TV personality Phil Robertson greets fans in the Duck Commander Compound at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Jerry Markland/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
So, they won't face retribution or be forced to remove it.
The frustration over their "Duck Dynasty" support stems from controversy surrounding remarks Robertson made in December about homosexuality and sin -- comments that briefly led to his suspension from the A&E reality show and that continue to receive media attention.
Read the entire story here.
(H/T: Todd Starnes)
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