Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty, Capitalism and Conservative Hypocrisy

phil-robertson-1I knew of Duck Dynasty — how couldn’t I have?  Their merchandise is everywhere.  Though I’ve never been a regular viewer of the actual show on A&E, I have seen it a couple of times.  For what it’s worth, it’s fairly humorous.  Pointless, but humorous.  When I read the comments Phil Robertson made during his GQ interview, I wasn’t at all shocked.  I can’t imagine anyone was.  It’s a bunch of backwoods, country born and bred individuals who clearly were the type of “Christians” who live based on a handful of excerpts from the Bible they were raised to follow.  Did anyone expect them to be LGBT advocates or liberals?

But something did strike me during this whole back and forth between the people who don’t understand what “freedom of speech” means and those who do: capitalism plays a huge part in this.

I found it ironic that many of those who were enraged at Mr. Robertson’s suspension from A&E are many of the same people who champion unfettered capitalism.  You know, where a company or business is free to do basically whatever the hell it wants.

Mr. Robertson’s freedom of speech wasn’t infringed upon in any way.  No government entity stopped him, or arrested him, for saying what he did in that interview.  He was free to say what he did just as A&E is free to hold him accountable for his comments.

Isn’t that their right in a free country?  Isn’t that their capitalistic right as a business?  Hell, aren’t Republicans big fans of “right to work”?  You know, where there’s almost no employee protection against termination?  Under “right to work” laws, a business can basically hire, suspend or fire anyone whenever they want for whatever reason they choose.

These are the economic principles conservatives pretend to live by.

Well, that’s until a long-bearded conservative country gentleman gets suspended for making ignorant statements about homosexuals (and African Americans as well, for that matter).

Funny, conservatives opposed ENDA.  You know, the Employement Non-Discrimination Act which would have prevented discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  Meaning that companies could discriminate against members of the LGBT community for simply being who they are.

But man, suspend a guy for comparing homosexuality to bestiality, terrorism and promiscuity, then suddenly it’s a direct attack on our First Amendment right to free speech.

Again, even though his suspension has nothing to do with an attack on Mr. Robertson’s First Amendment rights.

So according to many of these people, companies should have the freedom to fire someone based on their sexual orientation, but shouldn’t be allowed to suspend someone for willfully insulting millions of Americans?

And like I said, as proponents of little to no regulations on capitalism, shouldn’t they support A&E’s right to suspend Phil Robertson?  That’s capitalism, isn’t it?  You know, the very soul of this nation.

Well, if you believe Fox News and right-wing propaganda.

I just found it incredibly hypocritical (so what’s new) that some of the same people who throw hissy fits about any mention of questioning a company’s right to conduct business how they see fit are outraged when a company does exactly that.

Then again, when aren’t conservatives complete hypocrites?

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • cyd602

    Worth repeating… [“Mr. Robertson’s freedom of speech wasn’t infringed upon in any way. No
    government entity stopped him, or arrested him, for saying what he did
    in that interview. He was free to say what he did just as A&E is
    free to hold him accountable for his comments.]
    And what he said about Black people was just as egregious and ignorant. The Limbaugh disciples put the ‘H’ in hypocrisy. They run for govt office and live off it’s wealth of taxpayer money, yet scream they hate government. They say they want govt out of their lives, but vote to regulate women and their uterus. That bearded, ignorant dude was free to say what he said… and the TV network is free to suspend him. I never watched the show anyway. Those beards look nasty.

    • I have to agree..

      Those beards do look rather nasty..I don’t watch the show, didn’t care to watch the show and had no real idea what it was about until about two weeks ago. A friend of mine compared modern reality shows to the freak shows they used to do in the traveling circus’. I have to say I kind of agree.

    • OTO

      Bully. you just hate him cuz his has different beliefs. You libs are so funny.

      • cyd602

        Your ignorance is showing. I never used the word ‘hate’. In fact I wouldn’t waste my energy hating him or that show. I never watched it before, and don’t intend to now.

      • Gary-D

        You have written a letter to the Dixie Chicks and stated how sorry you are for slamming them when they used their free speech. or are you a typically idiot Republican and just do not get things.

      • Dale Burden

        So not liking a show about a bunch of college educated morons who can make a toy that sounds like a duck and make racist comments makes someone a liberal and a bully? Ok count me in

  • Travis Catalano

    You’re absolutely correct in that his freedom of speech wasn’t infringed upon. However, you and many others seem to be riding the drama train in your beliefs that he somehow was offensive to African-Americans or compared homosexuality to bestiality. Perhaps you read a different article? The GQ article I read (in regards to these two issues) was a man telling a story about his personal experience working alongside African Americans (Nothing close to racism as many are claiming) and he listed off a plethora of different sins according to his religion. Among those sins were other things as well such as being a drunk and cheating on your spouse yet no ones whining that he compares homosexuality to being a drunk? Hmmm, I wonder why they picked homosexuality and bestiality specifically? Sensationalism? Nooo…not at all! Lol

    • bpless

      You need to go read the article. You clearly have no idea what he said.

      • Travis Catalano

        I posted a sarcastic reply to this but I guess it got denied. I read the article in full not once but twice on top of skimming it numerous times to copy/paste direct quotes instead of letting people go on and on misquoting him and spewing out ridiculousness. That being said maybe you’re one of the many that see what they want to see as opposed to what was actually said. I feel sorry for you if you are. It’s a sad life to live not being able to read.

      • Gary-D

        Travis, where did you stand on the Dixie chicks freedom of speech to which republicans wanted to remove them from US Soil, and ban them from stadiums?

      • Travis Catalano

        I think she had every right to say what she did. One could argue that they were paid to perform and not make political statements in which they were bashing their own President. That was probably poor timing on her part but in the end, she had the right to say what she said…and yes, just as Phil has the right to say what he said and just as gays should have the right to be just as miserable as straights are in marriage. On a cool side note, my attorney is officially representing someone in the very first gay divorce case in our state. I think that’s forward progress as wrong as that sounds, lol

      • bpless

        I personally don’t care what he said. But this man pretends to be a Christian and his chose of words were not those of a Christian. They, however, are those of a fake, religious, reality show.

    • Sherry Conley Bay

      true…freedom of speech was not infringed upon, but there are those that would like to see that happen to anyone that has a different point of view…and i agree that he was not trying to be offensive…his perception is just that, his…GQ asked for his perceptions and opinions…so, that is what he gave them…how could they not know or be surprised by the comments and beliefs?? phil had the right to his opinions and perceptions/beliefs on those issues…A&E, unfortunately has the right to fire or suspend him …you cant back corporations right to fire, and then when they choose to do so, get angry because you share the same belief of the terminated….if its wrong, its wrong, (right to fire) no matter the beliefs of the individual terminated…

      • Travis Catalano

        I don’t think anyone challenges whether or not A&E had the right to suspend him. What a lot of people are upset about, and rightfully so in my opinion, is that he was suspended for being misquoted by overly dramatic sensationalists. Being suspended for your religious beliefs or for something you didn’t say or do is wrong in any situation, but in Phil’s position, A&E could let him go for dying his hair if they want. In the end, the Robertson’s were very well off before the show and they’ll continue to be financially stable after the show. If anything, this controversy makes them far more marketable and maybe now they can earn what they’re worth per episode as opposed the the measly $200k per episode for the entire family. Good job A&E, appealing to the mass of idiots lost you the number 1 rated reality show of all time. Say bye – bye to your cash cow, lol

      • Ted Z.

        How was he misquoted? It’s all there in the article.

      • Travis Catalano

        Show me anywhere in the article where he said anything negative about African Americans or where he said that homosexuality was equivalent to anything other than being a sin according to his religion and you’ll win the prize of shutting me up for good. Sadly, this task is impossible, yet people keep saying he’s racist for recalling his own personal experience and that he compared homosexuality with bestiality when he, in fact, did no such thing.

      • Dale Burden

        Well how about how they were happy and singing in the fields during the Jim Crow days? Black marched and protested to get basic human rights but according to Phil they were all happy and singing and not being treated badly. Thats like telling a Jew Hiter had a great health care plan for them.l

      • Ted Z.

        A&E existed before Duck Dynasty and will continue on. The guy is a gay hating hillbilly. Is that something any public-face company should support? Would Fox News support that?

      • kellyandtheboys

        He wasn’t misquoted.

      • Travis Catalano

        Really? Then prove me wrong. Show me where Phil Robertson said in his GQ interview that being gay is equivalent to bestiality. Also, show me where he made a racist comment. You can’t because it isn’t there unless you draw personal conclusions and that would be taking his words out of context. “Just because you have a ‘feeling’ that someone is racist or sexist doesn’t make it true.”

      • Betty

        He called the people he ‘worked with’ back in the day “trailer trash” which is not exactly a compliment. And declared that they were all HAPPY trailer trash. Yeah, we all aspire to get that sort of memorial for ourselves. He didn’t say being gay was equivalent to bestiality, he intimated that being gay LEADS TO bestiality and prostitution. Sheesh.

      • Travis Catalano

        Wrong. He called himself white trash. What he “intimated” was that you start with accepting one sin as okay and that leads to others being okay. He also said he respects everyone and judges no one as its not his place to do so. Funny how no one talks about that.

      • Nick Wride

        The shitkicker said it in a 2010 speech before fellow haters. They loved it.

      • Gary-D

        I guess you have not seen the tapes of him and his LOVE for all people! he is a hating racist and that is just fact,. he lost his job because of his mouth.

      • enkelin

        They will find another hillbilly to entertain the unwashed masses.

      • Travis Catalano

        Oh I’m sure they will just as much as I’m sure the Robertson’s are being buried in offers from other networks offerring far more money than they’re making now.

    • Ted Z.

      Being drunk or cheating on a spouse are actions that anyone came make, both heterosexual and homosexual. But by your view, drunk cheating heterosexuals and sober committed homosexuals are the same thing. Please explain?

      • Travis Catalano

        Are you drunk or something? How could you have possibly come to that conclusion from anything I’ve said or that was in Phil’s GQ interview? Your reasoning skills are the reason A&E and the Robertson’s are in this mess. People like you make no sense at all. The fact remains that Phil in no way, shape, or form stated anywhere that being homosexual equated to anything besides being a sin according to his religion. End of story.

      • Ted Z.

        You made my point. Thanks.

      • Travis Catalano

        You’re right for once, I did make your point. That point being that you’re clearly incapable of being either logical or understanding that pulling meaning from something that isn’t there is wrong.

      • Gary-D

        So, when he makes comments about blacks and they were always happy before, when Jim Crow laws were in affect, is a racist statement. He thinks murder, rape and lynchings and slavery were happier times for them? he is either very stupid or a racist? Choose!

      • Travis Catalano

        You are 100% wrong. He said nothing about anyone “…always happy before.” What he DID do was recall his own personal experience in which he was picking cotton alongside african americans and personally never heard any of them complaining that they hate whites. That is a HUGE difference from what you’re claiming!

      • Robyn Kern

        Like the blacks are going to complain about hating whites with a white guy standing there, that would have been suicidal for the black person!!!

    • Ted Z.

      Drunks. Define? Do you mean alcoholics who are addicted and have a disease? Is this the rot of society that you speak of?

      • Travis Catalano

        Lol, you’re really going there?

  • PFL1982

    on… the… money!!!

  • Tammy

    really? so putting the shoe on the other foot for a second…. ya’ll say that a company (like the few who were in the news over the summer) MUST accept everyone regardless of if the employee’s personal life does not match up with the owners’ view of right or wrong….. but now when this guy expresses his own personal beliefs it’s ok to fire him because his beliefs do not agree with the mainstream? who’s calling who the hypocrite?
    Sure, I think that a company ought to be able to hire & fire whomever they want to. It’s their company. I was just telling my son that last night. But with the regulations put in place already businesses CANNOT do that. They have to comply with the powers that be & the powers that be say that you cannot fire someone simply because they don’t agree with you. If you support legislation that says a company CAN’T fire whomever they want to, then you cannot support A&E’s decision to fire Phil or else you yourself are the one being a hypocrite.

    • Joy

      Isn’t Louisiana a “right to work” state? Which means an employer can fire anybody, for any reason. That’s the way it is in Texas.

      • Travis Catalano

        What you’re referring to is called an “At will” state which means any employer can let you go for any reason and in exchange, you can quit for any reason without repercussion. However, state laws have nothing to do with entertainment contracts as they’re an entirely completely different beast. It’s nearly guaranteed that there are numerous clauses in the contract with A&E about public image, etc.. That doesn’t mean I agree with it, just stating the facts.

    • Gary-D

      Same people standing up for this guy, are the same people that put down the Free Speech of the Dixie Chicks! By the way, they have a signed contract which included Codes of conduct, so he can be fired.

      • Travis Catalano

        You’re foolish if you honestly think that half the people arguing the whole #Istandwithphil thing have any idea what you’re talking about with the Dixie Chicks. On top of that, you assuming that anyone defending this mans statements in an interview absolutely must be the same people that shunned the Dixie Chicks is just…my god how can you live with your stupidity?

      • Gray

        Hey Travis. I respect that you’re an opposing opinion on this page. I think it’s really important that people see both sides to an argument always. But people don’t tend to see another person’s side when you’re calling them stupid. Lay off on the personal insults towards people on this page that are arguing their opinions. I’ve noticed you do it several times. If you really stand for the freedom of opinions like Phil Robertson’s, you should be able to respect these people’s opinions too.

        With that said, I’d like to state my opinion on the matter. I think it’s very easy for any straight, white person (myself included) to think that Phil Robertson’s words were not offensive, but the truth is that to any gay or African American person, those words could be very offensive. To hear somebody pointing out that if society were to accept gay people, that we would be heading down a path to horrible things can be taken very offensively. And yes, he was only pointing out what he saw in the cotton fields, but it was pointed out for a reason. And that reason was very ignorant. If you understand the history of the civil rights movement and slavery in America at all, you can clearly see what horrible things were done to innocent people. Sure, Phil Robertson was just being ignorant to those things, but ignorance is a dangerous thing on national television. He had every right to say what he did, but it makes a company like A&E look bad. If they don’t want to represent him, they don’t have to. He can go find another network. A&E has been a strong supporter of the LGBT movement, so they have every reason to be sensitive on the matter. As far as I’m concerned, A&E had every right to drop Phil Robertson whether we agree with that or not.

      • Travis Catalano

        You’re absolutely right and I agree with most of what you said. However, when someone is making statements based on complete fallacy and stoning another because of it, it’s not a legitimate opinion. If I said it’s my opinion that the sky is purple, I’d be both completely wrong and a moron. I’d expect people to call me out on it because allowing such stupidity to continue would be detrimental to our already severely declining intelligence in both this country and the world. If I said it’s my opinion that the sky is orange at times, then I’d have a legitimate opinion because it is in fact, orange at times.

        I could honestly care less about DD. The show isn’t very good in my opinion. However, when a person suffers financial loss, no matter how big or small, because people are accusing them of saying things they didnt, twisting their words, or just blatantly making things up, I will defend that person aggressively and I don’t see anything wrong with that. Perhaps I could tone down the insults, but if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck…. 😉

  • Mamasan2k

    I still think this is a ploy. Robertson made a cliffhanger. Now he’s going to make this his last season (he’d stated he only wanted to do it for about 5 years or so in the GQ interview) and he’s going out with a bang. He’ll ensure all that Duck Dynasty/Commander merchandise and uncle Si Chia pets get sold, that the final season 5 (already in the can and coming out 1/15/14) will be the biggest ever and that he’ll have his choice of offers from other networks and stations to continue the show or some variation of it. He’s already doing the lecture circuit. He was crazy wealthy before the show started too. It’s not like getting suspended from A&E will hurt him financially. But lot of people just got manipulated into buying up all his merchandise and watching his show. Well played, Phil Robertson. Well played.

    • Kerry Watkins

      I heard that, too. Yes, I could see this scenario playing out.

    • comptch

      Are you aware that A&E owns the rights to all the paraphernalia that people are buying up?? Kind of funny!!

      • marmacy

        only the “Duck Dynasty” … not the “Duck Commander” brand

  • Jimmy

    How about the couple that were court ordered to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple. Were their first amendment rights violated?

    • guest

      no.

      From the Judge in the cake case: ”

      The ALJ, however, rejects Respondents’ argument that
      preparing a wedding cake is necessarily a medium of expression amounting to protected “speech,” or that compelling Respondents to treat same-sex and heterosexual couples equally is the equivalent of forcing
      Respondents to adhere to “an ideological point of view.” There is no
      doubt that decorating a wedding cake involves considerable skill and
      artistry. However, the finished product does not necessarily qualify as
      “speech,” as would saluting a flag, marching in a parade, or displaying a motto.

      The undisputed evidence is that Phillips categorically refused to
      prepare a cake for Complainants’ same-sex wedding before there was any discussion about what the cake would look like. Phillips was not asked to apply any message or symbol to the cake, or to construct the cake in any fashion that could be reasonably understood as advocating same-sex marriage. After being refused, Complainants immediately left the shop.
      For all Phillips knew at the time, Complainants might have wanted a
      nondescript cake that would have been suitable for consumption at any
      wedding. Therefore, Respondents’ claim that they refused to
      provide a cake because it would convey a message supporting same-sex marriage is specious. The act of preparing a cake is simply not “speech” warranting First Amendment protection.”

      • Joe

        speaking of the judge wasn’t he fired from Fox news for expressing his views of what’s wrong with the rightwing view and Martin Bashir on msnbc wasn’t he let go for remarks he made that were just his opinion (of Palin) and beliefs and are a product of how they were raised, so where was the outrage from the right against Fox and msnbc for their actions. CHERRY PICKERS!!!!!

      • Travis Catalano

        Although it was ruled that they had to make it, I personally feel that it was a poor decision. Forcing a business to do business against their will seems ridiculously wrong to me. Maybe they should force A&E to suck it up and deal and let good ol’ Phil back on the show, lmao

      • Miles Graham

        I agree, I completely support Equal Rights for all, however forcing a business to do such business with someone they do not wish to goes way beyond Equal Rights. My Mother owned a diner for 30 Years that had a tag that said she had the right to refuse service to anyone. It wasn’t about black, white gay, straight, etc. it was primarily used for years against drunks, and drunks are drunk no matter who they sleep with.

      • Joy

        So where do you stand on the Fair Housing Act? Aren’t bigoted property owners “forced” to rent/sell dwellings to people they don’t “like” regardless of “race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial
        status (including children under the age of 18 living with parents or
        legal custodians, pregnant women, and people securing custody of
        children under the age of 18), and disability”?

      • Travis Catalano

        I’m both for and against it. Let me explain why…

        I think that people need protection from morons. Those morons being property owners that will refuse to rent a dwelling to someone based on their race, religious beliefs, sexual preferences, etc.. because lets be honest, there’s lots of racist, bigot, perverts out there and the general public needs to be protected *to an extent*. Is their judgement fair? No.

        At the same time, I’m against it and here’s why. I make a fairly good living. There was an old mill purchased by a number of individuals who used some state and federal funding to have this building renovated. The end result was absolutely gorgeous and I really wanted to live there. When I went for the tour and interview, I was told that I could not have a three bedroom as I desired because they were all held specifically for low income applicants only. “I’m sorry, what?! Are you kidding me?” Turns out because of the government funding, they had to allot a certain amount of apartments for disadvantaged citizens. Was that fair? No.

        My opinion would have to be example based I suppose.

    • Gary-D

      No!

  • Ted Z.

    What I take from the dialogue is that people are champing at the bit to be hateful of homosexuals if (by golly) our society and culture would just accept their hatefulness. They want so bad to not understand that gay people are natural born humans. In other words….a huge segment of American culture chooses to stay dumb.

    • Travis Catalano

      I disagree completely. The issue isn’t “Should everyone hate gays” because that would be stupid and ridiculous. I personally support equal rights for homosexuals and heterosexuals. Why would anyone not? It’s a civil rights issue and should just be accepted. However, to accuse a man of saying something he didn’t say and then demand A&E take action against him for it is absurd. I could care less about the show, but I do care about anyone in this country setting the precedent that people can suffer punitive damages for calmly and politely expressing their personal religious beliefs.

      • Miles Graham

        From what I can see from the records I have been able to find, A and E did not receive any complaints, I believe it was a non-Issue until AFTER he was suspended.

      • Travis Catalano

        Duck Dynasty is the number one performing reality show of all time (Which I find hard to believe but everything I’ve read says it is.) and it was a HUGE cash cow for A&E given the millions in revenue they gained per episode yet only paid the entire Robertson family a total of $200k per episode. (Pennies compared to what others have earned for shows with such outrageous success.) I don’t have the facts but I find it HIGHLY unlikely that A&E would take any action without some form of backlash. Otherwise, there’d be no reason to suspend him. I’ve read reports of A&E employees complaining but you can’t believe everything you read on the internet, lol

      • bobhowe

        Luckily you can’t suffer punitive damages for saying “I could care less”. It’s couldn’t care less, couldn’t.

  • Cynicus

    You are being entirely too rational to persuade those who are making a religious mountain out of this particular molehill.

  • Jay Keller

    I don’t see this as an attack on free speech. I simply see it as disingenuous on the part of A&E. Not only were they familiar with Robertson’s Christian ethics, they used them to promote the show for profit. When it suddenly became inconvenient (in their eyes), they dumped him. Moreover, doing so will cause them more harm than good. If they had just left the whole thing alone, we wouldn’t even be discussing the GQ interview. I mean seriously, how many Duck Dynasty fans read GQ?

  • Alan Smiley

    The longer and scragglier the beard, the more Taliban the mindset.

  • Nick Wride

    Where was the conservative concern for Bashir’s freedom of speech when he said something entirely truthful about Psycho Barbie?

  • Pam Spead

    He did not compare homosexuality to bestiality. why don’t you read the initial article before it was twisted and taken out of context. He was asked to define sin, he listed several including the two above. Terrorism wasn’t mentioned, nor hate. Again the media gone wild. I might agree with A&E’s stance except for the fact that they have known from the get go what this family is about, to cry foul after the fact because OMG, GLAAD is outraged, is wrong! I suggest we all wait until GQ actually comes out read the whole article and then decide if it is actually offensive, racist etc. or just one man voicing his beliefs in response to questions asked. If the homosexual community wants acceptance, I suggest they not attack individuals who voice opinions disagreeing with their lifestyle!

    • Travis Catalano

      Yes yes yes!!! Finally someone else who sees things accurately! (You can find the article online though.)

  • bobhowe

    They could have done anything from nothing to termination. They’ve decided to play it down the middle. They did a cost benefit analysis and believe they can protect their brand across the political spectrum and still make money off of Robertson. What part of that is objectionable to conservatives.

    Have we not all seen the usual suspects ranting that everything from Sharia law to Olberman or Maddow should be shut down. Businesses that say happy holidays instead of merry christmas should be punished. It’s funny, they’re so knee jerk reactionary that they forget to fake being fair and balanced.