The A&E Channel has a variety of programming that caters to a diverse viewership. The network is dependent upon ratings driven revenue. When an employee of a company makes statements that might dissuade customers from offering patronage, then *any* company –no matter how they generate earnings– is compelled to do what’s in the best interests of the stock holders. Certainly a significant portion of the A&E customer base/viewership who are of African origin, and/or homosexual.
I would venture to say that there is a probability that there are executives in the company that Mr. Robertson (“Duck Dynasty”) works for who are also either gay, or African Americans (who lived through the civil rights movement), and who were insulted by his remarks. If any employee, anywhere purposefully insults their employers, the repercussion is usually a suspension, or dismissal. I don’t imagine that anyone reading this who is under the employ of another has the ability to publicly denounce the source of their income.
There is also a distinct probability that Robertson violated the terms and conditions of his contract. When one has a high profile, public job, they are contractually bound to not embarrass the company they work for. As such, contracted media personalities are “employees at will”, and are subject to a professional code of conduct.
Moreover, if a cashier at a supermarket purposefully insulted a group of customers, for whatever reason, there would be a reasonable expectation for said cashier to be let go. If a corporate executive violated company policy by making disparaging remarks about class, race or gender, they would at the very least be subjected to a human resources review. Why should this be any different?
To another point, Mr. Robertson’s was not hired by A&E to offer sociological perspectives. Nor do his bigoted statements about gays and blacks constitute a “differing opinion”. There is certainly a difference between saying that “homosexuality is against my religion”, and offering an unwarranted, ignorant commentary.
Also, while first amendment activists are concerned about protecting uncomfortable free speech, Phil Robertson’s remarks are not likened to Don Imus, who was hired for off-color humor and to give his opinion. One could make the argument –and I certainly did– that Imus’ firing was purely born of politically correctness, and propagated by a special interest/ third party. Robertson’s suspension is much more likely to be in the best interests of his employer. Indeed, Phil Robertson’s social commentary were purposefully made uninformed statements, and intended to solicit negative attention.
However many who are defending Mr. Robertson’s purposefully bigoted, overtly ignorant assertions as “free speech” are cowardly doing so under that guise so as to propagate their like-minded hatred of gays and minorities. It is merely a way to publicly support right wing, homophobic, racist predispositions and pretend that it’s Robertson who is being victimized, rather than the groups he is disparaging. Thankfully, most Americans know better.
For if one finds themselves earning a significant income in a high profile position, they can no longer hide behind religion, colloquial provincialism, being a “child of the sixties” or a bastardization of the first amendment and hope to escape societal constructs.
Posted on December 19, 2013, in Recent Posts and tagged A&E; duck dynasty; gay slurs, Bias journalism, don imus, employment, phil robertson, Rich Woods, Television, terms and conditions, unlearntv, Wingnuts. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.