re: Duck Dynasty – Chill the f*ck out.

As much as I love Duck Dynasty, I support A&E’s decision not to support Phil Robertson expressing openly homophobic views. Especially mentioning bestiality the way he did, insinuating it was somehow the same thing.

I’m no idiot. I know what his “values” are. I watch the show. However, I didn’t have a problem with them expressing their faith on the show. That wasn’t offensive to me, even as someone with radically different views than them.

Freedom of speech, and my freedom to watch or not.

1) Yes, Phil has a right to say what he wants. 2) Yes, I support freedom of speech.

This is NOT a “freedom of speech” issue the way a lot of people are twisting it around to be. This is a contractual issue, and it amazes me how many people are willing to ignore A&E’s rights to support or not support (freedom of speech) the views THEY wish to support or not support.

Are you saying that A&E should be FORCED to allow Phil to say whatever he wants? If so, then you are NOT for freedom of speech, you are only for the kind of speech YOU want to support.

Flip the argument around: If this was a Christian network who dumped a network show star for pro-GLBT rights comments, do you think most of these same people complaining that Phil was cut would object?

Likely not.

And, ironically, I would still support that network’s right to dump someone for differing views. Especially if they violated clauses in their contract. (That’s irony in action, folks.)

Freedom of speech isn’t a one-sided coin. Along with the right to say stuff goes hand-in-hand, inseparable, the right NOT to support, listen, facilitate, or agree with what’s said.

So the backlash against A&E needs to cut it the fuck out, unless you’re saying you are AGAINST free speech.

Why? Because freedom of speech does NOT mean you are guaranteed an audience. It does NOT mean people are forced to stand there and listen to you. It does NOT mean a business is forced to support someone espousing patently offensive views in such a way that it alienates a group of people. In other words, A&E has rights, too. Likely, CONTRACTUAL rights.

Yes, Phil Robertson has freedom of speech. But just like you cannot shout fire in a crowded building, if you have a public following, you have to think about what you say. A&E has every RIGHT as a business to NOT allow Phil Robertson to openly espouse views contrary to THEIR brand. It’s that simple.

I mean, think about it. A&E is a BUSINESS that has made a decision that will likely be unpopular with a lot of people and cost them a LOT of money. They have ethics and standards, and you can’t say that about too many businesses in the media these days. How many times do we bitch now about businesses being soulless assholes?

Well, for once, there’s a business standing up to defend THEIR ethics, which includes NOT espousing views THEY view as offensive.

Substitute, “I think disabled babies should be killed at birth,” for what Phil said. Now think about that. What if that was his religious view? Do you HONESTLY think anyone with half a working brain would complain about A&E suspending him then?

No.

So how is this any different? It would still be his right to free speech to say it, just as it’s A&E’s right not to put him on the air. They aren’t telling him you can’t say that. He said it. He’s college-educated, folks. He might play a redneck rube, but he’s business savvy, believe me.

So kudos to A&E. Keep in mind, Phil Robertson likely signed a CONTRACT with A&E that included code of conduct clauses allowing the network to take this very action. I can’t imagine them NOT having such a clause.

Phil likely knew there would be consequences. It wouldn’t surprise me if he did this deliberately to get more notice to his message. He’s savvy enough to understand that. Or maybe he’s looking to get the show ended so he can fade away into the background. Who knows?

But do not claim that A&E is censoring free speech when they aren’t. They are making a decision to do the right thing. For that, I applaud them. And those who know me, they know that I LOVE the show. Phil was my favorite. I knew their religious views differed greatly from mine, but I was okay with that. (Freedom of speech in action.) But I cannot support him when he openly espouses hateful, hurtful views.

I support A&E’s decision. FINALLY, there is a business out there in the media that won’t just whore themselves out for anything. They have a conscience, and I applaud that.

3 Responses to re: Duck Dynasty – Chill the f*ck out.

  1. Bravo, Tymber! I was surprised at the misplaced “controversy” over “free speech.” Phil spoke freely and honestly, and as you pointed out, likely violated the contract he signed with A&E. A&E simply acted to distance themselves from language that does not represent their brand. Corporations do this all the time. Folks forget that they may be fired for saying things that are contrary to their employer, when they are seen as “the talent,” or representatives, thereof.

    I have never been a fan of “Duck Dynasty,” because it’s not my cup ‘o tea, so I don’t watch it. I prefer reality TV shows that highlight talent like “Project Runway,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” “The Sing-Off,” etc. Well, until the Juan Pablo season of “The Bachelor” starts, because….c’mon it’s Juan Pablo and he’s beautiful.

    I miss the days when the “A” stood for “ARTS” and wish A&E would revisit that type of programming. But, they are, ultimately, a business and will continue to pursue the biggest bang for the buck. I am gratified, however, that are consistent in their messaging. I applaud them for continuing to support equality and denounce homophobia, regardless of whether it was good for business, or not.

  2. I may be off base here, but I don’t see this as an issue of free speech as much as an issue of censorship. A&E entered into a contract and now wants to back out because the person has views contrary to theirs.

    They should have done their homework prior to signing a contract and none of this hoopla would be happening. Too bad if A&E stands to lose money, if indeed they do, but to censor someone they have agreed to air is very reminiscent of the shock-jock Howard Stern, whose ratings were higher with people that hated him than with those that liked him.

    • Censorship is the government stifling someone. No one censored him. The First Amendment does NOT guarantee you a TV show. What A&E did is no different than Tiger Wood’s sponsors dropping him after the cheating scandal erupted. Phil likely signed a contract containing clauses regarding behavior. If he willfully violated those contracts, it’s another strike against him. Again, A&E is a business, and as such they are within their rights to do business with whomever they want. If someone doesn’t reflect their brand, they are within their rights to terminate the business relationship. Period.

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