Technically, I can’t boycott A&E any more than I can boycott cigarette manufacturers…

Technically, I can’t boycott A&E any more than I can boycott cigarette manufacturers… December 19, 2013

…since I never watch A&E (no connection to outside TV, just Netflix) and I don’t smoke. But I can urge people who are fans of Duck Dynasty to use the power of their economic vote and channel choices to tell A&E that this latest attempt to crush free speech by the Gay Legion of Menacing Visigoths for Tolerance is repellent. Like it or not, gays live in a world where millions of people think homosex is a sin and in a country where people have the right to say that if they like. It’s true that A&E doesn’t owe anybody a platform for that view. But it’s also true that nobody owes A&E their allegiance or patronage.

"You wrote:The Faith believes, at bottom, that God is with us, not against us, and ..."

Prudence and Climate Change
"I call bullshit that you even started the report, much less "haven't finished it." Mueller ..."

My keyboard is busted, so I ..."
"I do not find Yahweh or Jehovah in my Bibles at John 8:58.At v. 57 ..."

Why the Third Day?: Part 1
"The "Catholic" Bible: At Rom 3:1,2 Paul, who helped in the writing of it, says ..."

Why the Third Day?: Part 1

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Sus_1

    TV executives are all about ratings and money.

    There may be millions that agree with the Duck Dynasty guy about gays but the TV people think that there are millions more that watch Duck Dynasty that don’t agree. They won’t risk offending viewers which could mess up ratings which means less money.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      That’s the gamble.

      In my opinion, the bigger gamble is whether or not the rest of the family will voluntarily follow him.

    • Caine

      Actually, I have a hard time believing that GLAAD members spent any time watching Duck Dynasty in the first place… Maybe the other A&E offerings, but certainly not Duck Dynasty. Nor were his comments made ON the show, but in an interview, so it is not a question of A&E giving him a platform. He never used the show, and apparently only answered with his opinion when asked.

      • Sus_1

        It isn’t glaad members they are worried about. They are worried about the general public who live and work with gay people. They are worried about the people who car pool with families with gay parents.

    • AquinasMan

      True, but this a little bit different. This is a real family, not actors playing other people. Viewers might handle a supporting actor in a cop-drama getting canned for something like this, but one of the reasons Duck Dynasty works is because it iS a real family. The episodes may be loosely scripted and staged, but these guys are the antithesis to Modern Family, and they are filling a significant gap in content for a significant chunk of the viewing population.

  • Dave G.

    In the olden days, that was called censorship. I remember clearly, growing up in the 70s and 80s, that such an action would have been called censorship. A record store (remember those) didn’t carry a record, or a company pulled sponsorship of some rock star, and it was Big Brother all the way! Fascists was a popular term. Censorship doesn’t end with the government, or so a professor said when I was in school. It’s interesting how things come around and go around.

    • chezami

      It’s not censorship. They don’t owe him a forum. But we don’t owe them our patronage either.

      • Dave G.

        My point is Mark, that growing up it was called censorship. I remember it well. When sponsors pulled from this rocker or a radio station wouldn’t play a song, it was called censorship. When a Florida dentists went to sponsors of the Phil Donahue show with a tape of his show, and some pulled their sponsorship, Donahue appeared with Peter Jennings and screamed Fascism and Censorship, and most pundits I read agreed. The point is that many who once yelled Big Brother the loudest because someone didn’t want to play the Stones seem quite comfortable with this. I’m not saying it’s dictionary definition. I’m saying it was the popular definition by many who now seem to have little problem with this very thing they once condemned.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          Agreed. It’s absolutely censorship. It’s perfectly legal censorship, but it’s definitely blocking ungoodthink.

        • Bobby Lawndale

          Sure they called it that. But as Mark correctly notes, unless you think that this Duck guy or those rockers or Phil Donahue are entitled to provided forums, then it is a pretty weak brand of censorship. TV networks and dentists are private parties who are entitled decide what to sponsor, etc. But yes, there is no chance of Phil Donahue crying censorship in this instance. Logical consistency is simply not in the repertoire of these folks. Mark is also right that the appropriate response is to withhold patronage.

        • LSUStatman

          Yes, you are correct, people when I was young would have called something like this censorship. However, when I was young, we only had access to 5 TV stations, not 745. At this point, any argument that Phil can’t get his message out simply isn’t rational.

          I expect this to follow the trend line of the Dixie Chicks in reverse. 1) A loyal following will express outrage at the “censors”. 2) The Robertsons will circle the wagons and flee to another network. 3) Many followers will watch them on that network at first, but for reasons unexplained “it won’t be the same”. 4) It will all become more trouble than it’s worth and the TV show will end.

          Pretty much how every pop-culture phenomenon progresses.

      • AquinasMan

        Here’s where heads start to spin. It’s hard to imagine what a “morals” clause looks like in Hollywood, but by their twisted, diabolical view, we’re the immoral ones. I agree with you, this is not “censorship”, per se. People can choose to work for whomever they please, and if the company doesn’t like what you do in public they can cut you loose.

        On the other hand — there’s a reasonable argument to be made that this punitive action is not based solely on what was said, but an act of employment discrimination based on religion, since his comments were CLEARLY couched in the context of his Christian faith. The Duck Dynasty guys could easily go into court with a plethora of examples where other celebrities under television contract have said much more controversial things without any recrimination, because there is no “Christian” undercurrent in their public personas. Not sure it will get to that point, but if they want to take a stand, they could file a lawsuit right away, and then this question of corporate fascism will be front and center for public scrutiny (whether they could win such a lawsuit or not).

  • jroberts548

    An employee getting fired from a job isn’t an attempt to crush free speech. It’s the employer engaging in free speech. If you don’t like what a and e has to say, boycotting a and e is as much an attempt to crush free speech as a and e is attempting to crunch free speech.

    • Marthe Lépine

      I strongly disagree. He did the interview on his own time, not the time while he was being paid by the network. Any employee has a right to express his/her opinion in whatever way it is (unless it is clearly criminal), at the very least outside of working hours. He has been fired for expressing an opinion to another media, and his employer does not agree with that opinion; this is clearly a violation of free speech.

      • jroberts548

        And any employer has the right to fire the employee. A&E has as much right to fire Robertson as you do to boycott A&E. In fact, it’s the same right. You have a right to express an opinion. You have the right not to do business with people based on their opinion (or rather, you have no duty to do business with people whose opinion you disagree with, unless you’ve done something to create such a duty).

        Eta: let’s say Robertson gave an interview where he said that the hunters that made him rich were all retarded hillbillies, and that he worshipped satan. It’s an opinion that he expressed on his own time. Would A&E be allowed to fire him?

        • Dbom

          But the ironic thing is that Robertson is cast AS HIMSELF ON A *REALITY* TV SHOW.

          Message: Feel free to be as real as we (the TV Channel) want. Go ahead, speak your mind and tell us your thoughts…

          But not too much…

          • jroberts548

            It’s not clear what the irony is here. Robertson agrees to sell some “reality” to A&E, and A&E finds limits to what they’re willing to buy. If your job is being a public figure, you’re taking the risk that your employer won’t like what you’re doing in public. If one of robertson’s employees started manufacturing duck calls that Robertson didn’t like, Robertson would fire him. He, rightly, wouldn’t care about his employees freedom to build duck calls. That’s not ironic. If one of his employees took actions off the clock that hurt robertson’s business interests, he’d fire him. That’s not irony.

            • Dbom


    • Blayzn

      Maybe people don’t know this so I’ll insert it here. Phil Roberts is the/one of the Executive Producers of Duck Dynasty.

  • Kirt Higdon

    Once again I’ll defend the most defenseless of our society – the Visigoths, since none of them are still around to defend themselves. They had no historical reputation for homosexuality and were not more intolerant than anyone else who was around at the time. In alliance with Catholic Romans, they even aided in the defeat of Atilla the Hun. They deserve better than to be smeared as gays.

    Kirt Higdon

    • quasimodo

      ah … a closeted Visigoth

    • Alma Peregrina

      As a likely visigoth-descendant, I second this statement. The worst thing you could pin on Visigoths would be that they turned arian.

  • kenofken

    Freedom of speech has nothing to do with any of this. This is about free market capitalism and the marketplace of ideas. A&E has no “free speech” obligation to hitch its revenues and reputation to whatever vulgarity and ignorance comes out of Phil Robertson’s mouth. If he doesn’t like it, he can look around for someone else to pay him $200,000 an episode for the rare talent of being a redneck on camera. There are plenty of others who could fill the DD slot and do so with a bare minimum of decency and class. The rest of us should vote with our dollars and viewership. If some of you really want to make Phil Robertson a folk hero martyr and the voice of traditional values, so much the better for GLAAD. He’ll be the best ally they could ever have.

    • Stu

      I’ll choose the “redneck” as rough around the edges as he might be than the refined individual who attempts to portray homosex as natural or even healthy.

      • LSpinelli

        This is what Phil said – unlike the MSM goons, I read the story.

        Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”

        Sin, meaning all sins, committed by straight people as well.

        Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “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.”

        Then he goes on:

        “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

        What’s wrong with saying that? To people who don’t want to give up sin, well, he needs to be burned at the stake!

    • Blayzn

      Yep, hows that working out for Cracker Barrel? I think you are finding out what “silent majority” really means.

  • LSpinelli

    Most fans of the show, and I’m one, knew that Phil is anti-most MSM sacred cows (abortion being one) and not afraid to say it. I knew that it was only a matter of time before the MSM clowns went after the family.

    Did A&E really expect him to adopt the MSM/Hollywood “anything goes as long as it’s consensual” credo?

    Sin is sure making A&E stupid.

  • Kristen inDallas

    To be fair I think it’s the “legion of people with one gay friend who want to look tolerant” that are demanding tthis guy be fired and tarred and feathered and required to wear a muzzle. My friends who are actually GLBT of some variety have so-far only said things like, “I disagree with his opinion, but it’s his right to say it. Making an example of him like this only fuels the hate and intolerance we have to put up with on a daily basis.” or “I don’t want people to accept me if it’s only b/c they’re too scared to say what they really think.” or my favorite, “Clearly this is just an ignorant old man who got tricked in to saying something stupid to fuel ratings”
    If I was the type of person who had liked A&E or shows like duck dynasty for painting certain types of people in a certain type of light, then yeah it would be hypocritical of me to get on the hate-phil-bandwagon (as his statements sound pretty much right in line with who they hired him to be). But I wasn’t ever that person and I don’t have cable, and plenty of people I do know have said or heard WAY worse things, so meh…. My take on this whole thing – 1) Just ignore the man I was content to ignore for the past year anyway, despite what he said. 2) Make sure anyone I know that might feel personally attacked by his remarks knows that I love them, that we’re all flawed, and that no sin (by anyone’s accounting) is bigger than God. 3)Try to get my opinionated-but-not-actually-gay aquaintances to shut up about it, in the nicest way possible.

  • Stu

    So how many practicing homosexuals actually watch Duck Dynasty?

    • kenofken

      The more relevant question is how many of the large and growing majority of Americans who don’t disapprove of gays (plus the demographic of conservatives whose values don’t include vulgarity and racism)? watch A&E? The network reaches something like 86% of households that have TV in this country. So do the math as an A&E executive. What’s more important? The long-term support of 60 or 70% of 98 million households or the fans of one reality show about hillbillies which had pretty much jumped the shark already?

      • Stu

        Your continued use of terms like “redneck” and “hillbillies” seems to undermine your concern. Just comes across as a disconnect from the sensitive guy persona that you are putting forth.

        I don’t even watch the show. I don’t watch TV. But I believe the fears are unfounded. Right now, homosexuals are very vocal and unrelenting when they are offended which can be at anything that might possibly speak against their chosen behavior. But that will pass. A&E knew what they were getting into with these guys. To run from them now after making a coin on them is rather weak but it may be as you say indicative that they aren’t needed any longer. Makes the execs look as poorly as the overly-sensitive homosexualists.

        • kenofken

          For all we know, the whole thing might be scripted. The homosexualists and homophobes might be laughing on their way to the bank together.

          • Stu

            What is a “homophobe”?

      • SteveP

        A fine display of ignorance – Louisiana is not part of Appalachia; West Monroe County does not have Appalachia hills. You just hate anyone who holds Christ Jesus as their Lord.

        • kenofken

          Redneck isn’t a geography. It’s a state of mind. I have as many here in the Chicago area as anywhere in Appalachia. Rednecks aren’t monolithic in their thinking, and very many of them are decent folk, but let’s be honest about what the show is. Phil Robertson, already a millionaire, is getting paid $200,000 an episode to be a redneck. If he doesn’t value that enough to keep himself within the bounds of what his network wants to put its name on, that’s his choice. My two closest redneck friends wouldn’t mind his gig. They’ve got about $100 to their name, and that was last week, when they were rolling rich. They’re just as funny as the Robertsons, tolerant, and smart enough to not kill a good thing.

          And not everyone who holds Christ Jesus as their Lord is compelled to speak about anal sex and bestiality in graphic terms to honor their beliefs.

          • SteveP

            Both words, redneck and hillbilly, have a basis in strong loyalty, a loyalty based on thinking for oneself and not shaken by hissy fits displayed by overly sensitive beta-males. Against that your anger is directed as you cannot corrupt it.

      • Andy, Bad Person

        DD is the #1 show in the history of cable. I don’t think “jump the shark” means what you think it means.

    • jroberts548

      It doesn’t matter. Most of A&E’s (or any cable channel’s) revenue comes from bundling A&E with other cable networks. Even if nothing Robertson says has a direct negative impact on ratings (or even if, analogously to chick-fil-a, it led to a surge in politicized popularity and a positive impact in ratings), the concern is likely that left unchecked, this might make A&E less bundleable by Disney and Hearst, who own A&E.

      • Stu

        Understand. Demonstration of why proponents of economic liberalism and proponents of social liberalism are finding out that they have much in common (liberalism).

        • jroberts548

          There’s no intrinsic connection. It would be perfectly consistent to think (as I do) that A&E has the right to fire Robertson and to think that chick-fil-a’s CEO can do or say what he wants, and that bakers and wedding photographers should be free to serve whom they want.

          • Stu

            The connection is liberalism. Those who want no barriers to making a buck are finding that the pursuit of immorality is quite powerful.

            • BillyT92679

              The rise of the fiscal conservative, social liberal has had many distressing consequences.

              Try doing a Google search for social conservative, fiscal liberal. Nothing will come up

              • BillyT92679

                The problem is, we don’t have enough Burkean Conservatives around. It’s all either a bunch of war hawk types or stone cold libertarians. NR, Limbaugh, etc.

                • Stu

                  I think the “war hawk” aspect is an oversteer after 911 based in fear. I think the libertarian aspect is an oversteer in response to liberalism that actually ends up in the same spot for different reasons.

                  AUTHENTIC Catholic Social Teaching is the answer.

            • jroberts548

              And the pursuit of morality is similarly powerful. With or without duck dynasty, Phil Robertson is a wealthy man. He’s wealthy because there aren’t barriers to him making a buck by selling duck calls. Economic liberalism has served the robertsons well. Forgive me if I don’t feel bad about what how the poor millionaire is getting screwed by economic liberalism.

              It doesn’t go one way or the other. Less or more regulated markets can be bent towards morality or immorality.

              • Stu

                Who said anything about feeling bad for the guy. I’m happy for him. He is unafraid to share his views.

    • chezami

      That, right there, is the key point. It will be interesting to see if ideology or money win this argument.

  • Obpoet

    Odd that no one seems to be condemning GQ for publishing the “vile filth” he spewed. Nor do they detail exactly what the filth was per se. They just want him off the air. Very telling.

  • brian_in_brooklyn

    This isn’t about free speech, it’s about economics and at-will employment.

    A&E has as much right to fire Phil Robertson as CNN had to fire Martin Bashir.

    • AquinasMan

      A&E has already demonstrated the practice of censoring the word “Jesus” from their prayers, i.e., aversion to Christianity. The brothers had to demand the editors stop cutting it out. That, by itself, is not a big deal, but then canning him for the content of an interview conveying his personal opinion, based on his Christian faith, will not look good in court. This could backfire very badly for A&E.

  • Dbom

    FYI- if this is about the free market, then A&E is gonna be on the wrong side of the Supply Curve pretty soon.

    See, Duck Dynasty is the #1 show on cable.

    And not because A&E is so great.

    I’m guessing any of their competitors would be happy to send a film crew to Louisiana and film the family performing their daily lives for the ratings they produce.

    Then A&E won’t have to worry about any of their “employees” talking about badly gay s*x…

  • Michael N

    VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination
    based on religion, national origin, race, color, or sex.

    • Michael N

      He was asked about a religious viewpoint and he shared and is being fired for that viewpoint, I think it violates the Civil Rights Act

  • ivan_the_mad
  • Michael N

    removed (duplicate)