OK, I’ve seen a lot of upset about the suspension of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson today, and I need to point something out: He’s not being persecuted for expressing his opinions, he’s been suspended from a television show for expressing homophobic views in a vulgar and disrespectful fashion in public.
If you haven’t bothered to read the actual comments he made, he starts his ugly little rant by mocking the intelligence of homosexual men, expressing his disgust at their sexuality, and then goes on to equate homosexuality with any number of sins… some of which are actual felonies under American law.
Yes, he’s entitled to his opinion. Yes, he has the right to express it. And had he expressed it politely — perhaps “I’m a Christian, and I believe in the biblical teaching that homosexuality is wrong” — then he might have gotten away with it. But he didn’t. He was mocking and crude and hateful… which is sad because I genuinely enjoyed watching Duck Dynasty, and now I feel like I can’t. Because all I’ll ever think of when I watch now is Phil saying “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men…”
As far as I’m concerned, he’s not a victim of oppression. He’s been put on suspension by the company which owns the show in which he appears. He made a massive PR gaffe, and A&E moved quickly to contain the damage… as is their right, because I promise you that they’ve spent a small fortune trying to present themselves as an inclusive source for entertainment and now one of their employees has gone off the reservation and endangered that investment.
Phil Robinson expressed his opinions in a vile, offensive, and homophobic manner. And he did it in public. He got suspended — and it’s a paid suspension at that! — by the people he works for. When someone says something vile, offensive and homophobic in public there ought to be consequences. And let’s face it: having to be a rich white eccentric who’s not on TV is pretty light as consequences go.
If you still have trouble understanding why the rich white man isn’t the victim in this situation, please allow me to refer you — again! — to an excellent article written by Doug Muder called The Distress of the Privileged.
Oh, and as for this little gem that’s been floating around Facebook from a “Tea Party” page:
First off: Oprah never won a Nobel prize. (And for chrissakes, it’s spelled “Nobel” after the guy who started them.)
Second: I’m fairly certain that Oprah Winfrey has never advocated genocide.
Third: It’s entirely possible to have an intelligent discussion on any number of topics — including the right to free speech — without having to resort to outright lies. I have no respect for that.