The news has left fans in an uproar. On Wednesday, A&E announced the suspension of Phil Robertson, the well-known head of the Duck Dynasty clan.
But why was he suspended?
In an interview with GQ, Robertson made what can only be described as graphic comments about homosexuality. The January issue of GQ features Phil Robertson talking about sin and his belief that homosexuality is a sin and allows other sins to “morph” from it.
The nature of his comments put A&E on the defensive, claiming that Robertson’s views do not reflect those of the network, which has always shown support of the LGBT community.
This writer knows two things. First, freedom of speech does not equate freedom of consequence. While everyone has the right to their opinion, they can’t expect to not see backlash from those that are voiced publicly. That seems to be exactly what happened here.
Second, in industries like entertainment (and in other major corporate industries), many celebrities sign contracts that contain morality clauses that give the networks the ability to suspend or fire those who do not behave publicly in a way that properly represents the network or the show. Robertson’s opinions aside, it seems like – if he has a contract like this – he probably breached it.
What remains to be seen is what A&E will do in the long run. Duck Dynasty is an incredibly popular show, so whether or not it could continue without Phil remains to be seen. And how much would the network stand to lose if they decided to cancel the show altogether? I sincerely doubt it’ll happen.
Regardless, fans and supporters of the Duck Dynasty clan have been incredibly vocal about their disagreement with the suspension. What do you think?