It's happened again. Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty is the latest in a long line of celebrities to be suspended for controversial comments. In an interview with GQ magazine, Robertson detailed his views on gay people. After implying that all sins stem from homosexuality, he didn't stop there:
It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical. -- Phil Robertson
A&E suspended him. Duh! Seriously, this is 2013. Is no one paying attention? Did we learn nothing from the likes of Hank Williams Jr., Dr. Laura or Don Imus? And just like those times, a lot of people are already complaining that this violates his freedom of speech. Other celebrities will no doubt jump on this bandwagon arguing that his First Amendment rights have been violated.
So let's clear this up: Neither Phil Robertson, Hank Williams Jr., Dr. Laura, nor Don Imus were deprived of their First Amendment rights. They were absolutely free to make the comments they made. They were not arrested or charged with any crime. In fact, the government stayed completely out of it.
The First Amendment begins, "Congress shall make no law..." That's right. For someone's freedom of speech to be damaged at all, Congress will have to get involved. And believe me, Congress was way too busy doing nothing about the things they should have been doing something about to step into this arena.
What befuddles me is that it is always conservatives who are the first to come to a person's defense after they are fired for making less-than-intelligent remarks, and the first to tie this event to the constitution. Ironically, it should be conservatives standing behind the companies firing the people, because what has transpired has had nothing to do with freedom of speech, and certainly nothing to do with violating anyone's rights. What has happened is our American system working perfectly. This is capitalism at its finest.
When a celebrity says something politically incorrect, or downright stupid, there are consequences to those actions. In cases like these, one of those consequences is that a portion of the population gets irate. Those people are also known as consumers, and those consumers consume products which are advertised by sponsors of whatever show the celebrity is affiliated with. These shows only exist because of sponsors doling out the big bucks.
When companies, like networks for example, realize that a celebrity's words could affect the income derived from sponsors, and that firing or suspending the person might be the best damage control available, they act upon it. In short, it is the almighty dollar behind the decision, as it should be in America.
In these instances, we can see that everyone's rights were 100 percent protected. The celebrity had the right to say what they did, consumers had the right to get angry, sponsors had the right to pull out and companies had the right to suspend an employee, a right they've always enjoyed in this country.
So the next time this happens, don't scream about the First Amendment. Instead rejoice that we live in a free society, a true capitalist society and that our capitalism is firing on all cylinders.
Follow Neal Wooten on Twitter: www.twitter.com/nealwooten