Friday, Dec. 20, 2013
What happened to Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Roberson isn’t a First Amendment issue. It is an issue between him and his employer, A&E.
As anyone would know, I am an ardent defender of the First Amendment in its most broadest of interpretations. Any speech that is stifled for whatever reason is dangerous for all of us. That’s why I have no problem with Robertson saying how he feels. He has that right and I dare anyone to take that away from him, because even though I may not agree with what he says, I will defend his right to say it–as I have numerous times before.
It is clear to remember that nobody was stifling Robertson’s First Amendment rights. For a refresher, it reads: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech.” Robertson works for a private company. They have policies in place, like any employer, they dictate conduct.
A&E is not Congress.
He spoke freely without inhibition or fear of governmental retribution in his interview with GQ magazine. But Robertson is more than just a person, he is the face of not only a TV show, but a network as well. Like any spokesperson, his comments do reflect on the employer. Like most companies in the US, employment is “at will.” You can be fired for a number of arbitrary reasons that don’t need explanation.
Why should Robertson be treated any differently if what he said went against those policies?
Yes, he is fully entitled to his opinions on homosexuals regardless of how ignorant, vile, and disgusting as they are, but no one has immunity over what they say when they are representing a company.
Granted, if there were any comments that should have lead to his firing, it would be his comments on race . . . now those are worth firing over.
Image courtesy of A&E