And a TV show also doesn't guarantee you the right to bash people either.
What happened to Bill Maher's show and what often happens in these types of
situations is that sponsors of the programs-those who run
advertisement/commercials on the programs--drop their sponsorship. Perhaps
A&E acted to prevent a loss of sponsorship--or not. But ultimately it
appears they discovered it was in their financial best interest to keep Phil
Robertson on the show. That saidWhat surprises me is that
being a "Christian" used to mean being polite, civil, sensitive to the
feelings of others, well-mannered etc. I thought Christian people were all
about setting high standards of apppropriate behavior. Now? Not so much. So I don't get why the proudly-in-your-face Christians of today rush to
defend the vulgar, crass, comments made by Mr. Robertson, whether the show
continues or not.
Here's the thing...television networks need viewers. They get viewers by
putting on TV the things people want to watch. Therefor, if we feel strongly
about something, we need to let them know. The outrage expressed over their
decisions prompts them to act. Apparently the moral majority is still alive and
well because Duck Dynasty was reinstalled and Politically Incorrect was
canceled. I agree with what you say. People have a right to speak any truth
they choose and not be arrested for it but the court of public opinion has a
power all its own...even if it interprets law incorrectly.
Eliyahu,So, when I fail to pay income taxes, like General Electric,
what crime have I committed? Whose rights have I infringed upon? The truth is,
tax evasion is a crime made up by IRS agents, prosecutors and judges against
political enemies and those too poor to afford a lawyer/accountant. But there is
nothing inherently criminal in not paying taxes. Millions of the politically
connected elite do it every day and get away with it. Why shouldn't
No, free speech doesn't guarantee you a TV show. The First Amendment,
according to the letter of the law, only applies to state action. But the
principle the First Amendment is designed to uphold, is the principle of the
open society -- the idea that ideas should compete against open ideas in an open
forum, with bad arguments (if they are bad) being corrected by *better*
arguments. Not force or extortion. If your response to hearing an
opinion you disagree with is not to answer it by stating and defending your own
opinion, but rather to try and make bad things happen to the man whose words you
didn't like, then you are not, at heart, a friend of freedom of conscience.
And so you're no friend of mine, either.
Freedom of Speech or any kinds of freedom comes with responsibility and
accountability, and when any person chooses not to be responsible or accountable
for their words, actions and thoughts thereafter, the natural or logical
consequences will follow. TRUE FREEDOM IS NOT FREE, IT WAS PAID WITH A PRICE..
There were thousands, and thousands to men, women and children died for the
cause of true freedom. Thus, as we learn to focus on what is our duties and
responsibility to God and our fellow beings, and live by them, then true freedom
will be established.
Bill Maher - militant atheist, hates US constitution, hates US history including
vets, loves Communism, thinks adultery should be normal behavior in marriage.
Phil Robertson - Christian, loves US constitution, his brother is a
Vietnam vet, conservative, understands the evils of Communism. Is a great moral
example to his kids and grandkids. So - we are comparing a man of
God vs a man of Satan. This is ridiculous.....free speech aside.
djc nailed it. It was an effective no-cost PR stunt. They knew what Phil was
when he was hired -- in fact, that is *why* he was hired. If you
do a bit of research, you'll find lots of pseudo conflicts regarding
bleeps, prayer, the use of the name of JC, and more. It's called
Wadyaknow,The Dixie Chicks was not the same thing. Their label
didn't blackball them, their fans were offended by their behavior and threw
their CDs out. There's a difference. I seriously doubt any Duck Dynasty
viewers were going to stop watching because of the GQ interview.A&E was within it's rights to suspend him... but it's not the
same thing as the Dixie Chicks. It would be the same think if Duck Dynasty
fans were offended by his comment and quit watching (I don't think that
happened). This was an executive decision. There was no executive decision
to blackball the Dixie Chicks. Their fans just got turned off.Bill
Maher is also a different story. His whole show was about offending people
(not some interview about his faith).Bottom line... A&E has a
right. The disgusting thing is... how intolerant some people are being about
him expressing his personal beliefs.
It's not a free speech issue per se, but it does feel like one. That is
because of how it went down. He was asked very specific questions that he
answered honestly. Special interest groups went nuts and lobbied to have him
silenced. That is what is bothersome, that someone responds to questions
honestly and faces losing an unrelated job because a few groups went bananas. I
agree that A&E has the right to fire, but I get just as upset at
conservative groups that try to silence people. If you don't like the show,
don't watch it. If you don't like the person, don't buy their
products. Don't call for their head though.
@killpack"So called tax evasion is NOT a crime. "I
hate to be the bearer of bad news for you, but tax evasion is,indeed, a crime.
The fact that you don't think it should be a crime won't be a very
good defense if you're taken to court for it. Every one of us can point to
some laws or statutes that we don't support, but we're still required
to obey those laws unless and until we can get them repealed.
There is a difference between saying something on your talk show and dragging a
quote from a magazine to skewer someone.Similar to the Chick-fil-a
"scandal" this was a liberal witch hunt in an effort to protect the
narrative.If Robertson had made his comments part of an episode of Duck
Dynasty it would have been an entirely different issue.
I love how people consider dissenting viewpoints being expressed as somehow
someone denying you your rights to free speech. The way it works is you say
something - the other persons argues another point - and it goes on back and
forth. No one is denying anyone anything.Phil has no expressed
right to work for A&E. In fact in Utah and other "right to work"
states, it is an at will agreement between employer and employee and either can
terminate the relationship for what ever reason. I am sure as long is the
relationship is profitable for both, A&E and Phil will find a way to work it
out.But please - lets stop the entitled spoiled child rants about
loss of free speech. Someone disagreeing with you does not qualify of any
preventing anyone else their rights - they are just expressing their own.
"Both Phil and Bill have gotten into hot water for saying controversial
things on national television."I thought the thing that got Phil
in trouble was in a magazine article? I don't recall him getting into a
lot of trouble with anything he has said during the duck dynasty show?
I think people already know freedom of speech doesn't guarantee you a TV
show. I think what most people are disappointed in is... the lack of TOLERANCE
of other opinions (when they are ultra-conservative) even when they were not
intended to be offensive.I think the point is the hypocrisy. When
ultra-liberal people in Hollywood or the recording industry do something
outrageous or to say something very liberal... we are just supposed to be
tolerant and just be glad there are other opinions out there, and we can express
them without being blackballed. But if an ultra-conservative point of view is
expressed... the same people PRAISE his being blackballed.I think
THAT is the point. The hypocrisy, and lack of tolerance of somebody with a
different point of view than yours.
I agree with the point of the article, however the thing that gets me about this
is that the Robertson's are unabashedly conservative Christians. If you
would have asked anyone who is familiar with the family or who watches the show
what you thought their stance on Gay marriage was and I don't think anyone
would be surprised to find out that they believed the bible stated that
homosexuality is a sin. So why would A&E or anyone else react shocked at
his statement? If you have a show about the lives of openly Christian people
don't expect them to have anything but traditional Christian values.
Property rights always trump free speech rights and that's what these two
issues actually revolve around. Bill Mayer made a bone headed comment and his
ratings tanked (partially due to the comment and partially due to his lack of
appeal), therefore his show was cancelled. Papa Robertson made a comment and
the producers got some blowback and thought they could calm the waters by
releasing him, but the financial losses would have been too much to take, so
they relented. It has very little to do with free speech or which side of the
fence you happen to be on, its all about the Golden Rule....Them with the Gold
The comparison between Bill and Phil is a flawed comparison. Bill routinely has
made offensive comments ON HIS SHOWS. Phil made some comments to a magazine. I
agree the producers have the right to fire either and the public has the right
to stop watching if what was said offends them. That is the beauty of real
freedom. You have the right to do what you want and the right to suffer the
consequence - good or bad. I like to watch many entertainers whose beliefs I
disagree with. If they stand up in that venue and start pushing those beliefs,
I will stop watching. Likewise, I typically would not fire an employee for
stating their personal views on their private time. If they go on a rampage at
work, thats a different story.
Well said, Jim.
Oh, DN Subscriber 2, your comment is the perfect example of the author's
And let us not forget the Dixie Chicks!
We don't lock anyone up for free speech in this country. Yet. We do,
however, lock up people for ALL KINDS of non-criminal offenses. Some things,
seldom few things really, are inherently criminal. Murder, rape, theft, fraud,
etc. So called tax evasion is NOT a crime. Not giving your money to corrupt,
even criminal, government officials, who wreak all manner of havoc with it when
they get their filthy hands on it, is NOT itself criminal. It certainly
doesn't require police brutality and imprisonment, simply because you
didn't get a good enough lawyer or accountant or because the IRS agent who
drew your name out of a hat doesn't like you along with the prosecutor and
judge partners in crime. Shame, shame, shame on us as a society, who have so
cheaply sold our birthright as a free nation, in exchange for piddly food
stamps, welfare checks, social security, and whatever financial opiates we so
First, you are correct that free speech does not give you the right to a TV
show. A&E had every right to terminate Phil but they then had to face the
economy consequences of their actions. They found that those were so onerous
that they could accept his comments and his apology.
"Would the author suggest that the company could have fired me without any
constitutional issues being raised?"Umm... yes, this happens all
the time. Just a couple of months ago in Texas a teacher was fired for some
pictures that came up that she had done years earlier in her less well thought
out years. These photos were not taken while in the employment of the school
district, she had not done anything while employeed by the schoold district
against their rules, and this was not information she intentionally hid from
them in the hiring process. But the district determined the fact that these
pictures had come to light, caused a distraction from her ability to do her job
in the class room.... and released her from her contract.People are
fired all the time for expressing themselves on the web - whether it be in
Facebook, or blogs or other postings. If an employer deems that person does not
reflect the standards of their organization, they can and do fire people.Phil wasn't sanctioned because of his beliefs - but because of what
he said about people who didn't share his beliefs.
The author is philosophically correct.However, he ignores the fact
that in the real world there is a tremendous double standard.The
liberal view is "Unfettered free speech for me, but none for thee."Anything a liberal says, no matter how offensive, or even untrue is
merely "free speech" or "expressing an opinion." Especially on
matters of "political correctness." However, for any conservative to
say the same words, but switching the object of their attention to a liberal
target will instantly result in cries of "blasphemy, racism, homophobia,
hatred for the poor, and many other sins. Of course, there is no explanation,
excuse, or other discussion allowed, the liberals have spoken and the
conservative offenders pronounced guilty and must be punished, banished, but
most importantly silenced!Dissent from liberal orthodoxy is simply
not permissible!Free speech for me, but not for the, indeed.
I understand the writers point but one thing that I think makes a big difference
is that Mr Robinson didnt make his comments as part of his TV show. He made them
as part of an interview. If you only have freedome of speech if you
are willing to accept the punishment that comes with it that doesnt sound very
good. The same would apply to those who say this is more of a civil rights
violation (freeddom of relgion) against MR Robinson than freedome of speech. I
am sure A&E would say that MR Robison can exercise his religous beliefs all
he wants but that doesnt mean they have employ him. The result would be the
I agree almost completely with the author. Free speech does not protect you from
representing your employer in a way they don't want to be represented.
Wouldn't KSL fire radio personalities who used repeated profanities?
However, the one area I do not agree with the author is context. Bill Maher made
his controversial remarks on the air. On the station's airwaves. Phil
Robertson made his in another setting - not private, but not under the
station's representation. Had he made those comments during the taping of a
show the network could have chosen to edit that out. Had they not suspended him
most of us never would have known about the comments. I do not think an employer
has the right to fire an individual who publicly represented their personal
beliefs with absolutely no representation of their employer in mind. I was
previously employed by a company that supports the gay/lesbian movement very
publicly. However, I personally oppose the movement in almost all of its facets.
However, I never represented my employer in my personal opposition. Would the
author suggest that the company could have fired me without any constitutional
issues being raised? I think not.
I believe that Mr Robertson had the right to say what he said. I believe A
& E had the right to fire him. What I don't believe is that A & E
actually fired Mr Robertson for his comments or anything else. All shows for
the upcoming season are already in the can. I'm sure A & E knew this.
I believe that it was all a publicity gimmick. As a publicity gimmick it worked
very well. Here we are talking about it weeks later. This whole event happened
during a lackadaisical Christmas shopping season when there was great displays
of Duck Dynasty merchandise in many if not most stores. I'll bet it helped
move a lot of junk at Wal Mart and other stores. Color me cynical, but .......
@ GuiseppgGYou nailed that one right on the head!!
I am afraid Jim Bennett and Christopher B are quite wrong. The speech police
have been more in force the last 10 years than ever before. And although I agree
that free speech doesn't gaurantee you a television show it should also
not get you fired from it either. The dirty little truth is that what was
started during the Bush years and put on steroids during the Obama
administration is to target and shut up any one with a dissenting voice to
whichever greivance group is the loudest by waging economic terrorism against
them and their sponsors whether it is CARE, GLADD, NAACP,la raza, NBC, FOX ,CNN
ABC, etc.Its all brown shirt thug tactics. When one person says something
careless and is held to different standards than someone else. you don't
have freedom of speech. You have Communist PC (Origin Josef Stalin.) I say Death
to it. you don't have a right not to be offended. as the Eagles say GET
Jim, I believe that it's really the Civil Rights Act, which protects
employees from being discriminated against based on, among other things, their
religious beliefs, that folks are referring to. And since, I imagine, A&E
engages in interstate commerce, they are subject to Federal authority there.However, I believe that the coals that should be heaped on A&E are
for buttering their bread on a fare of "redneck" shows, paying their
actors for either being or acting like "rednecks", then feigning offence
when they act like "rednecks" to try to appease another segment of
society, and then being surprised when their "redneck" audience gets
upset about that. That's a special kind of stupid.
I agree wholeheartedly. There's some of what Phil said, however
inelegantly, with which this liberal agrees. Quite a bit, actually. But I also
steadfastly believe I make choices for myself and not others.
Well said. If a tv channel owned by a conservative group fired someone for
speaking in favor of same sex marriage I highly doubt the liberals would be
responding the same way.