The Duck Dynasty Thing Has Absolutely Nothing To Do With Free Speech

The creator of this image doesn't get it.
So this whole Duck Dynasty/A&E thing. I've been seeing a lot of comments in the blogosphere/Twittersphere, and petitions being passed around on Facebook, and one thing seems clear: Too many Americans have no idea what the First Amendment does and doesn't do.

Robertson has all the rights in the world to believe and say what he wants about LGBT folks. Nobody can take that right away from him. However, his employer, A&E, has no obligation whatsoever to pay him for making comments which they feel are not aligned with their values. They are in no way compelled to continue to provide a forum for a guy who has offended a significant number of their viewers.

I imagine if an employee of Fox News (or any other network) made comments on or off the air that equated Christians with swine, that individual would be suspended. And I imagine that the same people who are backing Robertson and boycotting A&E, would applaud the suspension of this employee.  And if he were to remain, I assume they would boycott the Network.

You have the right to say whatever crazy, hurtful, or morally dubious thing you want (short of hate speech, which is not protected).  You don't, however, have the right to keep your TV job after you say it.


  1. That's sort of what I was thinking: When I learned about the 1st Amendment, there had to be state action for it to be implicated.

    You have to feel for A&E, though. As soon as this guy opened his mouth, they were caught between two boycotts.

  2. I think A&E are wimps! They know the kind of people they were trying to exploit in the first place. Duck Dynasty/Robertson family have been true to themselves from the beginning. A&E just didn't have their editors over there for that GQ article…A&E have used them up, and are using this to bow out and bring in a new dog and pony show. I may not agree with what Phil Robertson believes, but I certainly am old enough to know everyone has a right to their own belief and/or opinion, good grief!

  3. People need to stop being pussies. The LGBT cry all the time when someone tuned gay people away and cry that their rights are being violated. And turns around and give religion people shit because they openly practice their religion. We have that right, we have the right to free speech.just because he on tv people want to crucified this man for what he said.