Why suspending “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson was a bad move

Much as I disagree with Phil Robertson’s views on sexuality and race, I oppose A&E’s decision to kick him off “Duck Dynasty” for comments made in an off-air interview. Attempting to stifle speech in this way – even speech we find offensive – is not a good practice. Establish such a precedent and it can be used against anyone who expresses minority opinions, or anything that their employer perceives as a threat to the bottom line.

It’s better for all of us if Robertson can make his case openly. Let him explain his reasoning in detail and defend it against criticism. Let him be the public face of social conservatism. Ban him and he becomes a principled martyr. Let him speak and he becomes your crazy uncle – you know he’s probably a decent guy at heart, but sometimes you’re just embarrassed for him.

2 thoughts on “Why suspending “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson was a bad move

  1. sarijj

    But we do have to remember he chose to be a public figure, paid by an industry that does not allow this type of speech. He has a right to say whatever he wants, but he should also know there are consequences. As much as I agree he should be judged by what he says, but A & E has to be judged on what they promote.

    Reply
    1. thecuriouspeople Post author

      That’s true, and if I were an A&E executive I’d be worried about what this guy would do to the bottom line. After all, even Chick-fil-A had to backpedal despite the surge of support they got from the Right. But A&E is acting in response to a public expectation that offensive speech should get you fired, and that expectation is what I’m questioning.

      Reply

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