Sarah Palin says the suspension of Duck Dynasty reality star Phil Robertson for making anti-gay comments in a magazine interview is an attack on free speech.

The former 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate and governor of Alaska re-posted a picture of her meeting with the stars of the A&E show on her Facebook page on Wednesday.

Palin wrote: “Free speech is an endangered species. Those “intolerants” hatin’ [sic] and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.”

Phil Robertson, known for his appearance on the reality show Duck Dynasty, was placed on “indefinite hiatus” by the A+E network, after he equated homosexuality with bestiality in an interview to GQ.

Robertson had been asked to describe sin by the magazine, and replied: “It seems like, to me, a vagina – as a man – would be more desirable than a man’s anus. I mean, come on dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.

“Start with homosexual behaviour and just morph out from there,” he continued. “Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and those men.”

The 67-year-old also paraphrased from Corinthians, claiming that “the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers” will not “inherit the kingdom of God”.

Then, in contrast, he said: “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ‘em, give ‘em the good news about Jesus – whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ‘em out later.”

More than 9m viewers regularly watch reality sitcom Duck Dynasty in the US.

It follows the lives of the Robertson family, a clan with old-fashioned values who live together in Louisiana, running their multi-million family business, Duck Commander – which makes products for duck hunters.

Sarah Palin is known for backing anti-gay public figures and organisations. In July 2012, she defended fast food chain Chick-Fil-A’s opposition to gay rights by posing for a photograph at an outlet in Texas with her husband. 

She also supported efforts to outlaw equal marriage as governor of Alaska.