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Duck Dynasty : Phil Robertson Learns That Freedom of Speech Doesn’t Mean Freedom From Consequences

(Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America)
(Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images North America)

 

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After being suspended from the wildly popular A&E cable show “Duck Dynasty” for making anti-gay and racist remarks in the January issue of GQ, Phil Robertson learned the hard way that freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences.

To begin, and for the record, I have watched perhaps two minutes of Duck Dynasty and am barely skimming the surface of why it has caught the imagination of some many Americans. Perhaps some dig the rugged salt-of-the-earth-type, rags-to-riches story of the Robertson’s and how they made their fortunes in the bayous of Louisiana is making their popular Duck Commander equipment. I don’t know. I am far from an expert on this subject, and will not pretend to be one on a show that I don’t watch nor understand.

Instead, this writer is simply throwing his own proverbial two cents into the media firestorm caused by Robertson’s comments.

Is it right and in what he said about comparing homosexuality to being one step from bestiality? Absolutely not. Is it right about his comments about African-Americans? No.

Was Robertson entitled to his First Amendment rights of free speech? Yes. Was A&E within their legal rights to suspend Robertson. Yes.

While this writer may not watch the show on a regular basis, if there is one thing I am knowledgeable about is ethics and how corporations protect themselves by including certain parameters within a contract on talent.  While Robertson spoke his mind freely and openly, it was on A&E’s production dime, and should have been more careful and responsible in choosing his language in talking about gays and African-Americans.

Clearly, he didn’t get the memo and learn from Paula Deen’s recent mishaps on the Food Network.  That being said, Robertson’s comments will not stop this writer from living his normal life and consume him to the point of over-analysis.

Nor, will it stop A&E from continuing to make a hefty profit at the cost of viewer’s preferred ignorance. Duck Dynasty merchandise will continue to sell in retail stores such as Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods and the popular beards grown and groomed on the show will continue to be the hottest and trendiest must-have this side of Michael Sorrentino’s chiseled abs of Jersey Shore fame.

As in business and in life, life will go on and things will go back to normal, which in Robertson’s case, he may want to still to duck calling and do less interviews.


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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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