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Op-Ed: Suspending Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson part of A&E's rights

By Marcus Hondro     Dec 20, 2013 in Entertainment
Not only do I not agree with Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson's diatribe on homosexuality, I support gay marriage and tire of the endless haranguing of people in the LGBT community. Who you love is your business and, indeed, it should be celebrated.
But Robertson has the right to his views. He has a right to compare homosexuality to bestiality, as he did in his interview with GQ that has gotten him suspended from Duck Dynasty. Fill your duck hunting boots with vile comments if you want, Mr. Robertson. In this case, while it is arguable you're inciting hatred, it's not criminal.
But A&E, broadcaster of the show, has the right to turf him because of the comments. They don't have to accept those comments. They suspended him because of them but no free speech has been taken away from Mr. Robertson. After all, he said those words, they were published, he's not been arrested. But just as you and I have the right not to have him in our homes, A&E has the right not to have him on their station.
Bye bye.
Those religious groups and politicians, like Sarah Palin and Ralph Reed, and the right-wing news organizations like Fox that are lambasting A&E for "censoring" Mr. Robertson are ignoring the station's rights. Meanwhile, Mr. Robertson is rewriting history, trying to depict his comments as nothing much out of the ordinary, thereby suggesting the suspension is all the more wrong. He issued a self-serving statement that breaks one of the commandments he claims to believe in: though shalt not lie.
“I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me," he blathered. "We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”
Are you kidding! I would never treat anyone with disrespect??? I think Phil needs a refresher on some of the things he said in that interview with GQ. When talking about how sinful America has become he began thusly:
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” Robertson told GQ. “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right."
He also connected homosexuals to terrorists.
It's hypocritical how "religious" people are up in arms. Do they really support that kind of talk? Do they really feel that it is not a hateful and disrespectful way of talking about people in the LGBT community? This is not about religion, but about hate and disrespect and it's hard to believe they can't see that. They are opportunists, taking A&E's decision to protect their rights and turning it into another opportunity to whine, yet again, that they are being mistreated in America.
Look, Phil Robertson isn't going to learn from this, his family isn't, Sarah Palin isn't, they think their "rights" is code for them being able to consider themselves better than people different from them. Their rights mean they don't have to care about others, that they can malign others and pass judgement on them. That's not religion, that's bigotry. But if Phil wants to say it and GQ, or any other magazine, wants to print it, that's fair game.
But A&E can't be forced to tolerate it.
It's not an easy decision for the station. Without Robertson the show, with 14 million or so viewers and their most watched program, might not work. It could lead to the end of it and another broadcaster ultimately picking up the Robertson family and taking many of those viewers with them. But obviously it's a decision based upon principal.
So kudos to A&E and, well, goodbye to Phil Robertson. Happily.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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