Duck Dynasty: I'm Against Homophobia But Support Free Speech
[Editor's Note: Editor's Note: BlogHer is nonpartisan, but our members have a variety of opinions. For another viewpoint on Phil Robertson's suspension, read iamwoman2013's post Why I Think A&E is Unfairly Punishing Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson for His Anti-Gay Remarks.]
"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" - Evelyn Beatrice Hall
My mom is gay. I have many friends who are gay. I'm not entirely straight, myself. As much as possible, I vote with my dollars, and I don't support companies that don't follow my views on social justice for all people.
But A&E's suspension of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson has got me thinking. Robertson was put on leave for his anti-gay comments in an interview with GQ magazine. While my knee jerk reaction is that bigoted people who are vocal about their bigotry should face consequences, is that really American? What if the Duck Guy got fired because he was pro gay marriage? How would I feel then?
Certainly we have a right to fire people who we find reprehensible for whatever reason. I am not saying Mr. Duck Dynasty should not have been fired. If I had a small business and overheard an employee expressing bigoted views, I would want to fire them as well.
But at the heart of America is the right to free speech. While it is easy to say that bigots don't have the same rights that I do, is that really my better self?
I am not talking about hate speech directed at an individual. I am talking specifically about people who voice opinions calmly that differ from mine.
So should Duck Man have gotten fired? Well, if he hadn't, I certainly would have boycotted the show, if I had been a regular viewer, which I wasn't. I don't fault them for firing him - I think part of free speech is that while you have the right to say what you like, you still have to take responsibility for the consequences of your words.
I'm not saying I have any answers, but thank you for listening to my questions. I'd love to hear what you think about free speech when it comes from the mouth of someone you want to hit in the head with a shovel.
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By Lisa Owen