People get fired. Sorry, Phil Robertson.
Well for those of you who haven't heard, apparently A&E indefinitely suspended Phil Robertson of the show Duck Dynasty for the anti-gay remarks he made in a recent interview with GQ.
|Photo courtesy of thegunfeed.com|
I personally have only caught a few glimpses of the show, so I'm not familiar with Phil Robertson's character and personality, but I would really like to address people making this suspension out to be an attack on Christianity and civil rights, when it most definitely is not.
According to the CNN report:
First of all, I am a journalist. I believe in freedom of speech and understand fully why it is necessary and should be upheld. The fact is, he is not being denied his rights - he said what he said. No one is throwing him in jail or threatening to close down the Duck Commander business, leaving duck hunters everywhere high and dry.
The bottom line is that A&E has had to go into damage control mode to make everyone aware that they do not share Phil Robertson's views and as a network, it supports the LGBT community.
In the wonderful state of New York, where I reside, they work under an 'employment at will' standard, where you can be fired for any reason, and you don't even have the right to know what the reason is if the employer does not wish to share.
Basically, I can be fired for my haircut, what I bring for lunch, the kind of car I drive, being a Syracuse basketball fan - any assortment of asinine reasons. And there's nothing I can do about it. It is entirely at the discretion of my employer.
I could even get fired for this blog post. Fair? Not quite.
This works along the same lines. An employer is not going to keep an employee around that draws negativity and does not have mental capacity to gauge the difference between having a relationship with someone of the same gender and having sex with animals.
The statements he made were ignorant, there's not doubt about it, but he does have every right to say them. A&E, however, has every right to take whatever action they feel necessary to keep their network in a positive public standing.
Phil Robertson is a public figure, and when you're in the public eye, ignorance and intolerance will never be taken lightly. If Barack Obama said this, how fast would the conservatives being filing for his impeachment saying the remarks were inappropriate? But when they can make it a religious crusade, they jump at the opportunity.
There are several jobs where these comments would warrant an employee's termination, especially someone who is in the spotlight that has a fan base of people who really pay attention to what they say. As a public figure, he should really be more mindful of what he is putting out there. All celebrities get the same pep talk from their PR team - just smile and don't say anything stupid. Seems pretty simple, right? Keep the hateful and judgmental speech in your own living room.
Obviously, I personally don't agree with what was said, but that's not why I wrote this post. I want people to really educate themselves on freedom of speech and religion, and once they do, they'll realize neither of those rights were violated and have nothing to do with the situation.
At the end of the day, some people get fired. Sorry, Phil Robertson.