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Why it's OK to sell 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson's book

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Phil Robertson doesn’t like gay dudes. William Powell can teach a surly teenager to make bombs that kill people. Both of them wrote books.

The star of "Duck Dynasty," Robertson’s memoir “Happy, Happy, Happy: My Life and Legacy as a Duck Commander” is No. 43 on Amazon’s bestseller list. In the wake of Robertson’s icky anti-gay comments last week, and reports that a Colorado teenager who killed one of his classmates had read Powell’s “The Anarchist Cookbook,” media outlets posed the following question to booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble: Will you continue to sell these books?

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression said the dual controversies are a danger to the 1st Amendment.

"Booksellers sell books, including books that some people find offensive,” Foundation President Chris Finan said in the statement. "While booksellers make individual choices about what to sell, we believe our customers have a right to purchase any book that is protected by the First Amendment.”

Last week, Powell disowned the book he wrote in 1971. “'The Anarchist Cookbook' should go quietly and immediately out of print,” Powell told NBC News in an email. He added that “it is no longer responsible or defensible to keep it in print.”

The publishers of "The Anarchist Cookbook" told NBC News they would continue to sell it. On Amazon, the book is currently out of stock, but more copies are likely on the way.

Robertson was suspended "indefinitely" by A&E, which broadcasts the reality show “Duck Dynasty.” Supporters and detractors of Robertson, whose family became wealthy selling duck calls for hunting, have called for boycotts of the network. But on Sunday, he granted the Daily Mail access to a Louisiana family prayer session in which he said: "I will not give or back off from my path."

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hector.tobar@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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