A&E’s suspension of Phil Robertson from the hit show “Duck Dynasty” has generated a lot of talk about the First Amendment.
While technically it’s not a First Amendment issue because the government was not involved, the punishing of Robertson for expressing his well-known beliefs in an interview with GQ goes to the larger issue of free speech and tolerance for differing views.
A&E has a right to fire anyone it chooses, however, this was not just a case of someone shooting his mouth off and embarrassing his employer, as it was in the recent case of MSNBC’s Martin Bashir.
This was a situation that was created by A&E, and then A&E made a calculated decision to respond the way it did.
Robertson’s views on the Bible and homosexuality were well-known before A&E even hired him and the rest of the Robertson family, and his sermons are recorded on video.
If that wasn’t clear enough, just watching “Duck Dynasty” should have underscored the family’s Christian beliefs, so there’s no way A&E executives were unaware. Because of the nature of show business, it’s also safe to assume that A&E signed off on the interview with GQ, whose interest in all things sex is also well-known. That a GQ reporter would ask Robertson about homosexuality is practically a given.
And yet, here’s A&E acting all shocked and bothered because Robertson said he doesn’t see the appeal to a man of another man’s butt. (Robertson was more anatomically specific, but you get the idea.)
So because Robertson said out loud what millions of Americans think whenever the subject of homosexuality comes up, A&E got a call from GLAAD, which you can imagine must have included threats of boycotts and retaliation, the full Chick-fil-A treatment.
TMZ Editor Harvey Levin, who is gay, blasted A&E on his show and on Twitter for their treatment of Robertson. “A&E is being so dishonest,” Levin tweeted.
Levin further went on to defend Robertson, saying that while he didn’t agree with the “Duck Dynasty” patriarch, Robertson’s comments were religious, not “hate-based.”
Author Camille Paglia, who is a lesbian and atheist, was even more irate about A&E’s decision when she spoke to Laura Ingraham:
“To express yourself in a magazine in an interview — this is the level of punitive PC, utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist, OK, that my liberal colleagues in the Democratic Party and on college campuses have supported and promoted over the last several decades. This is the whole legacy of free speech 1960s that have been lost by my own party. …
“I think that this intolerance by gay activists toward the full spectrum of human beliefs is a sign of immaturity, juvenility. This is not the mark of a true intellectual life. This is why there is no cultural life now in the U.S. Why nothing is of interest coming from the major media in terms of cultural criticism. Why the graduates of the Ivy League with their A, A, A+ grades are complete cultural illiterates, etc. is because they are not being educated in any way to give respect to opposing view points.”
Ultimately, A&E’s decision to appease what it perceives as a powerful homosexual lobby may backfire. A Facebook page calling for the boycott of A&E until Robertson is rehired got more than 1 million likes in one day.
The history of homosexual boycotts has been that they usually achieve the opposite of the intended effect. The boycott of Chick-fil-A resulted in booming business for the restaurant. The boycott of a cake maker in Colorado for refusing to bake a cake for a homosexual “wedding” likewise has garnered the baker more business.
If A&E was smart, it would stand by Robertson and welcome a GLAAD boycott. Instead, they insult and denigrate their Christian fan base.
But that seems to be the way of things these days. The Left continuously shows its intolerance of other while demanding tolerance of its own views.
The Left should watch an episode of “Duck Dynasty” and take note that as nice as the Robertsons are, they (and many of their fans) are armed. The PC crowd might want to keep that in mind the next time they feel the urge to punish the Christians.