Friday, December 20, 2013

Count me in on the Duck Dynasty talk.

It is times like these where I love having a platform to spout off my views :)
So here is what I know.  Reality star Phil Robertson was interviewed by GQ and made some remarks about gay and black people that seemed pretty in character with who he is.
So I am not surprised that an old/elderly man from a small town in the south has less than progressive views about things.  (I personally feel the things said about black people were a lot more telling of his worldview than his feelings about gay people)
I mean, it is no surprise that this family is Christian: they pray at the end of each show, they do appearances at mega-churches, and even sell Duck themed Bibles (which I find utterly ridic.).
I know that gay people want and deserve equal rights and not to be discriminated under the law.  No one should ever be deemed a second class citizen in that regard.  But are we not allowed to have opinions anymore?  This isn't exactly a free speech issue because that only means that Phil cannot get arrested for saying what he said. 
My real issue with this entire (what feels like a prefabricated) controversy is the idea that when under the employ of someone, we really don't have free speech. 
I understand that it works a little differently when you are a TV star vs an accountant at a small ID badge company, but is it that far off?  Because it is funny to me that Alec Baldwin, Michael Richards, Chris Brown, I could go on... have been caught saying and doing utterly terrible (not to mention illegal) things and have essentially zero repercussions in their profession.  The irony is not lost on me that Phil the reality star being interviewed as himself - the exact same person he is portraying on TV - saying things he would say as himself, is deemed unacceptable by the network.  The reality TV curtain has been lifted (ha!). 
But since we pretty much all have jobs working for someone else, are they always going to have some sort of control over what we can say or do outside of our workplace?  I get it that I cannot end my email signature on my work emails with 'white power' or 'Thanks Obamacare'.  Inappropriate.  And when I am sending an email from my work email address I am a representative of my organization.  But if I want to go spout off a blog about how I think Ted Cruz is the biggest turd who ever lived and voted into political office, should my workplace be able to have that sort of reign over me?  Maybe not as a random joe office worker, but say if I were a teacher.  Don't their facebook accounts get scrutinized all the time?  I fear for Aaron's future as an educator with the type of stuff that goes on on his facebook...
Things tend to get heated and probably can offend sensitive folks if your view is different...
Set your page to private, dear.

In conclusion, I just feel it is unfair that you aren't allowed to state an opinion outside of your workplace without fear of losing your livelihood.  He wasn't threatening anyone, merely expressing his views. 
But as for everything else on this topic I think this sums everything up nicely:
the end.

 What do you think about this?  Watch the show?  Let me know!


2ndheartmom said...

I started reading this post planning to stop, as I have in most of the posts on this subject. But, I really appreciated this take on it. And in fact, there was a recent decision by the Board of Regents (I think that is who it was) for the University of Kansas that will, indeed, allow them to dismiss faculty for things said on their social media that are found to be "detrimental to the mission of the University". Sounds pretty broad-based to me...and pretty threatening. So, I guess education is not far behind A&E and again, many Universities will hire professors based on the "cutting edge" research and publishing they are doing. Will it come back to bite that faculty when cutting edge offends someone? Hmmmmmm...lots to think about. I never watched Duck Dynasty (ever). I don't watch much "reality TV" because I find it to be less than realistic for the most part and so many people involved in it seem to be driven over the edge by it - Kate Plus Eight, e.g. I find it to be sad and I agree with your final FB commenter - it is exploitative by A&E and TLC, etc. We are a culture of voyeurs, but we want our peeping to be decided upon and censored by someone else. Weird.

Judy Conaton said...

I agree with you up to a point. TV stations are like brands, and brands get to decide who they want representing them to the world. If A&E doesn't think that Phil is going to be an accurate representation of who they want to be seen as, it makes sense that they wouldn't put him on the air anymore. It's just like a clothing brand, they wouldn't want someone representing them that was going to give them a bad "image."

Frankly, I was pretty surprised that A&E were willing to upset their viewers. "Duck Dynasty" is there only other big show besides "The Walking Dead." And I believe that a large part of their viewers for DD are Christians (at least that's what I assume from all the ads that I've seen with DD merchandise for Christian stores) who would have agreed with Phil about his interpretation of the Bible. But really, who knows that they meant by "hiatus" anyway. Where they planning on waiting until everything calmed down and then bringing him back? Maybe.

As far as being able to be punished by your work place for what you say and post online, that is definitely something that people need to be careful about. There have been quite a few instances where people have been fired or lost their jobs because of what they say online. Think of politicians who get in trouble for emails that they're sent with offensive "jokes" in them. And I personally knew a teacher who was fired because pictures of her posing for a tattoo magazine were put online and the school found out about them. Is that fair? I don't think so. But again, it is an institution looking out for their reputation. That is something that we're just going to have to deal with as social media becomes more ubiquitous.

One more point, you mentioned that Alec Baldwin hasn't had any repercussions, which isn't accurate anymore. He just recently lost this late night talk show because he yelled at a photographer and called him a "faggot." NBC said, "No thanks!" and canceled his show.

It's wonderful that we have freedom is speech in this country, but that does not mean that we have freedom of consequences.


Thanks Sue - and that is very true about reality TV. Everyone probably ought to not watch it so it will go away.

Judy- I didn't know that about Alec Baldwin. I feel torn about him because I so enjoy him in his creative endeavors, but as a human being he seems despicable. My point though, that I get that you represent a 'brand', company, network what have you - but where does the line end where you get to just be yourself representing yourself? It is almost as if agreeing to a reality TV show is selling your soul to the network (especially if the rights to their reputation trump your rights to the expression of your own thoughts)((and we seem to be headed in this direction in the average workplace)) Granted, I doubt his 'punishment' was really anything of the sort other than a politically correct way to deal with these media situations.

Amanda said...

My husband and I have watched Duck Dynasty from the beginning. It's really frustrating to me to see all these comments from people talking about how terrible it is, when most probably never watched a full episode. Yes it is technically reality TV, but it's so very different from the other shows out there. They really are a great family-oriented group of people. They joke around with each other and stuff, but there is no cussing, no fighting, no drama. I was raised on the same values and ethics this family has, I love watching it. And I completely agree with you 100% about how ridiculous it is for him to be punished like this. It's not like these comments were made ON the show or anything, and it's not unusual for him at all. Anyone who has watched the show is not surprised by his comments. Why does A&E act so shocked by it? It's a load of crap.

Unknown said...

In my defense, I am almost never the one who says offensive things on my Facebook wall.

Cream 'n Sugar | Lifestyle Blog said...

Girl you really summed up how I think about the whole thing. People can't be surprised that he has these views, can they?! I mean you're exactly right, his a 60-something, devout Christian living in the deep south so what do people think his beliefs are? On the other hand though Phil shouldn't have publicly make offensive remarks in interviews knowing people are going to be offended. If he thinks being gay is wrong/a sin and his racist black comments, he should've kept his opinions to himself because their family is in the spotlight and people are obviously going to react negatively. TV companies only care about their reputation and brand so I'm not surprised they suspended the show. Same thing how Paula Deen was dropped from Food Network, because these companies don't want to get backlash for "supporting racists or homophobes"

Everyone has to be so careful what they say these days its actually kind of scary. If we say something even slightly offensive all of a sudden we are labeled as horrible, ignorant people.

Alexandra Marie said...

I really like how your viewpoint. Personally, I love Duck Dynasty. I am not at all surprised about Phil's views given what you see on the show. A&E has every right to suspend him if they want to because he is an employee, but like you said they have probably known his views for years. They are probably only beginning to care now because it has become a public issue. He has previously taken a hiatus from the show because A&E removed the parts where he said Jesus and was praying.

Megan said...

I always enjoy your take on things. I think what bothers me the most is the fact that people get very upset when someone states their opinion and it goes against what's "acceptable." Free speech seems to only apply to those who have the majority opinion or the popular opinion. Celebrities say things quite often that I don't agree with, but I move on with my life. On the homosexuality issue...there's a difference in disagreeing with someone's choices and being hateful towards a group of people. I have coworkers, family members, and even friends who've made choices that I morally don't agree with. I don't treat them differently or like 2nd class citizens. Why do we all have to believe the same thing? Christians are talked down about ALL THE TIME. I don't get up in arms over that. Do my ramblings even make sense?

Jamie Hart said...

What's really sad is that Phil made this comment THREE months ago and now, all of the sudden.. it's come out. While Miley Cyrus and whoever can do what they do (on MTv and what not) and it's never looked twice at.. but this guy says what he thinks and it's the end of the world. It's just crazy to me. I think it's really sad. I won't think ill of the Robertsons.. just like I don't think ill of Paula Deen. We all are entitled to our opinions. That's what our freedom is made up of.

~Anchored In Christ~ said...

I agree with the above to an extent. why drag something on. heck, Miley Cyrus can dance and grind on a guy twice her age and have nasty videos and its quite ok. but say one think about gay's and its all over with. I mean, happened to freedom of speech. I mean, damn.

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