A&E v. Robertson, Phil

Ok, here’s the thing.

Do I believe Phil has the right to believe what he wants and express those beliefs?  Especially when being asked flat-out while on his own time?  Yes.

Do I believe that A&E can fire him if he violates his contract?  Yes.

Did he violate his contract?  We don’t know.  Though I find it hard to believe that a man such as this would sign a contract that would limit what he’s allowed to say on his own time, especially when you consider that during the initial negotiations for the creation of Ducky Dynasty, we are told that they said three things were not negotiable: faith, family, and duck season.  (Hence all the shirts that list the same three things.)

So what is this?

I believe it’s a ploy on the part of A&E to appear that they are just, like, so amazing.  They squash discrimination when it rears its ugly head!!  However… in trying to do so, they have instead discriminated against one man for his religious beliefs.

Is anyone really so put out by what he said?  Really?  Does it affect you in any way?  Does the gay man down the street really need to care what some guy a million miles away thinks?  I think the answer here is a big resounding no.  Big deal, there are bigger fish in life that need to be fried.  Maybe we should all start with human sex trafficking, now that is something to get angry about.  Why is A&E so concerned about his statements that, as a side note, were clearly not complete as it’s obvious he fell into a trap set by GQ.  Because, you know, GQ is so reputable.

But I digress. There we are, back to he beginning – do they have the right to fire -or suspend- him for his religious beliefs?

I’ve been watching this unfold from my computer, I’ve not watched television or any mainstream reports on this whole broohaha, it’s pretty much just been all my Facebook feed.  The thing I keep seeing is people who are saying that free speech only applies when you’re dealing with the government.  Well, if that is so, then why do we have all these laws to guard against discrimination?  You’re not supposed to be able to fire someone based on their religious views.  Or their sexual preference.  Or their skin color.  Or if pink is their favorite color.  Or if you just plain don’t like their face.

So why is it okay for A&E to do it?

Back to the questions.

Do I think Phil and his family really care about his suspension?  No.  They don’t need A&E.  They already had a successful business going and a following — yes, we were fans before Duck Dynasty when it was just Duck Commander and Buck Commander, and I gotta tell you, those were the only hunting shows I would watch (since I am subjected to hunting shows on a regular basis) that didn’t make me want to bash my head in — and now?  It’s even bigger.  Filled with people who are raging mad that Phil has been discriminated against for voicing his beliefs and opinions.  The family has made a statement that if he’s off the show, so are they.  I’m sure there’s another network just waiting to snap them all up.  I think the family has a “mission accomplished” attitude about the show in general.  I believe that they weren’t in it for entertainment or money, that they were in it to subtly, and in their own way, spread their belief system.  That they have done, and now it’s even bigger because people who don’t even watch the show are talking about them and checking out the show to see what it’s all about.

Do I think A&E shot themselves in the foot?  Yes.  I mean, come on.  Rappers and others get away with this crap all the time, why is Phil so special?  I guess A&E is just incapable of looking ahead to consider the consequences.  Duck Dynasty is the highest rated show on cable.  You’d think they’d want to do anything they can to keep it while it’s hot.  It would not have been that hard for A&E to instead release a statement that Phil’s views are his own, and not that of the network.  Not only does everyone already know that (I mean, come on, duh) but stations and networks do that all the time with infomercials.  But right now, A&E is getting what it wants: attention through controversy.  I think in the end, they might regret it, I don’t see this making their network stronger.  Rather than just let people know that they don’t agree, and sat down with him over coffee to explain that you just don’t do interviews with people like GQ, they essentially attempted to silence him.  Attempting to silence someone never works.  I think in the end, the one that comes out ahead is the underdog, the one seen as being persecuted – – Chick-fil-A, need I say more?

Here’s the other thing, I cannot begin to tell you how many posts I’ve seen from gay people (that I don’t know) that start with, “I’m gay and I support Phil Robertson…”  Or, “really, we gays don’t care, it’s the media and the activists that blows these things out of proportion.”  Or even things like, “Who is Phil Robertson and why should I care what he said?”  My own gay friends and family have been silent on the issue so far (estranged straight family is a different story, for some reason they seem to think it makes them amazing and cool to be gay activists rather than living their own lives, but again, I digress).  Of course I know not all those who are gay feel this way but that’s the beauty of this world – we are all allowed to be different, to believe different, to think different, to speak different if we so choose.

So with all of that behind me…  who cares?  Phil doesn’t care what you think.  If he cared what you think, he’d have lied through his teeth.  A&E clearly does care what people think, and that is their downfall in this case.   But I think they’ll get by.  I don’t see Phil and his family as the suing for discrimination type so I’m sure A&E will have less to answer for than if they’d tried to silence someone else.

But you…  don’t you have more important things in life to deal with than worrying about one person out of 7 billion said?  I know I do.  I just thought I’d kill a half hour while my daughter’s in speech therapy but now it’s time to get back to reality.