Duck Dynasty Star Suspended From A&E For Homophobic Comments, Politicians React
You've probably heard by now about some of the choice comments Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson made in an interview with GQ about gays and bestiality. (To refresh your memory, they went a little something like: "It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus.") What you might not have heard is that the scandal has now moved from the world of entertainment to politics, with figures like Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Senator Ted Cruz, and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin chiming in on the matter. Why would politicians take time out of their busy schedules to comment on the inner workings of A&E (which has indefinitely suspended Robertson from the show)? To defend freedom of speech, (and presumably their delegates' beloved Duck Dynasty), of course!
On Wednesday, A&E issued a statement clarifying that Robertson’s views in no way reflect the network's opinions, stating “His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.”
Palin, never one to shy away from expressing her opinion on social media, took to Facebook Wednesday night to shame A&E for offending the most basic of American ideals. The message, which she reposted to her Twitter, calls out "intolerants" for hating on Robertson for expressing his homophobic views.
Meanwhile, Jindal released a statement Thursday defending the Robertsons as "great citizens of the State of Louisiana." The full statement, released by his office, even manages a timely Miley Cyrus mention.
"I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended."
Never one to miss out on the fun, Senator Ted Cruz jumped on the bandwagon around 11:00 a.m. Thursday.
The rest of his argument, which can be found on his Facebook page, centers around his concern that Robertson is effectively being censored by A&E for comparing homosexuality to bestiality.
What these politicians forget — or perhaps don't understand in the first place — is that this isn't a First Amendment issue at all. As Josh Barro writes over at Business Insider, “no clause in the First Amendment establishes a right to star in a reality show on A&E regardless of what you say to GQ about vaginas and anuses.”
In fact, if anyone is protected by the First Amendment, it's A&E, whose choice to not air a reality show starring a man who might alienate viewership falls pretty well under First Amendment rights.