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Controversy*! (*Manufactured)

19 December 2013

If you’ve been on the Facebooks at all today, you’ve probably heard about the Duck Dynasty Debacle (yay for alliteration!). The fact that people have opinions on both sides of the issue doesn’t bother me at all. I have my own opinions, other people have theirs. Super-cool.

What does bother me is the people saying Phil’s first amendment rights have been violated, or that they’re standing up for freedom of speech, or that A&E is trying to censor a beloved TV personality.

To be clear — freedom of speech is not freedom from consequence. If the US government had told Phil he couldn’t say something, or if the government had punished him for his views, I would be right there angrily condemning the government. But that’s not the issue.

Any of us is free to say whatever we want, and that includes reality TV stars. What we’re not free to do is say whatever we want and avoid any consequences.

Do I think that A&E was right to put him on hiatus, or even to fire him if they do? I believe that they’re within their rights. You can debate if they were right or wrong, and your opinion on that is just as valid as mine or anyone else’s. But they are completely allowed to fire someone if that person — seen as representing them — says something they don’t agree with. My job could fire me for saying something off-brand when I’m representing them, and they’re totally within their rights to do so. They’re not censoring me or stepping on my freedom of speech — but they are enforcing consequences for what I said.

We don’t all deserve a platform to say whatever we want. We don’t all have an inalienable right to a TV show where we can broadcast our views. No one’s civil rights are being trampled on in this situation.

Be angry the guy got fired, or be happy about it. But don’t call it a failure of the first amendment, or an infringement of free speech. It’s an employer deciding that the actions of their employee don’t line up with the company’s views, or the image the company wants to put out.

Feel free to tell me I’m wrong. Disagreement is fine, and totally part of the first amendment. And even if you call me a cockbag, I won’t delete your comments (even if I do have the right).

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 19 December 2013 1313

    Cockbag!

  2. 19 December 2013 1327

    I had to look up what the deal was. I’ve hidden all the people on my Facebook feed for whom this would be a big deal. One friend mentioned it and I looked up what he was talking about. Then today…it broke through some more.

    My thoughts: “Man, too bad these people don’t get as fired up about making things that make them happy and supporting others. Let stupid (whatever your definition of stupid is) sink to the bottom because there’s simply no audience or manufactured outrage because we’re all busy doing better things with our time.”

    I think there’s some podcast out there that closes each week by saying, “Chill the fuck out, and make the damn thing!” The hosts are pretty awesome (and humble!), and even though they lean left, it’s rumored they have friends on the right.

    HOW CAN THAT BE?!?!?!?! 😉

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