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.