By Tad Cronn
Dec 20, 2013
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 others 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.