Reality TV star Phil Robertson, who is widely known by many Americans thanks to the hit show "Duck Dynasty," will be honored by Citizens United with a free-speech award.
According to Paul Bond of the Hollywood Reporter, the "Duck Dynasty" star will receive the "Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award" at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, better known as CPAC. Robertson faced heavy criticism for his controversial remarks about homosexuality and same-sex marriages in a GQ magazine interview last year.
"Even when the entire mainstream media demanded he disavow his beliefs and attempted to have him fired from his own hit show for expressing these beliefs, he stood firm in his faith," Citizens United president David Bossie said.
Bond reported that A&E, the network behind "Duck Dynasty," indefinitely suspended Robertson after he made those remarks. However, the network lifted its suspension after receiving backlash, mostly from conservatives.
"When one does not have the freedom to speak out loud and anywhere what one believes, freedom is dead," Robertson said.
According to Bond, the award, which was created through a partnership between Citizens United and Breitbart News Network, is named after conservative new-media entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart, who died in 2012.
Breitbart News reported that the announcement was also made by Breitbart News Network CEO Larry Solov. The award is scheduled to be presented to Robertson on Feb. 27 at CPAC in National Harbor, Md.
"As both Andrew's business partner and lifelong friend, I can definitively say that he would have been thrilled to give this award that bears his name, to Phil Robertson for his unflinching conviction in the face of an adversarial media," Solov said. "In fact, I'm fairly certain Andrew would have grown a beard for the award presentation."
Bannon said that his organization was "honored" to present the award to Robertson.
"Phil and his family have been that breath of fresh air Hollywood desperately needed," Bannon said. "They are taking their faith and conservative politics mainstream. Phil has the guts to do and say what most politicians in Washington won't: You must adhere to your conservative beliefs, all of them, and never surrender or compromise them for anyone."
Bannon added that "we are proud supporters of the Robertsons."
American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp also endorsed the decision to honor the "Duck Dynasty" star.
"Robertson personifies the importance of holding tight to that which gives our lives meaning," Schlapp said. "For Phil Robertson, that includes his family, the Lord above, and of course creating havoc in the Louisiana countryside. We are honored to have him at this year's CPAC."
According to Breitbart News, Robertson will be the second person to receive such an honor. The first person to receive it last year was conservative talk radio host Mark Levin.