Theintroduction section introduces the topic under discussion. It hasoffered an overview of Duck Dynasty show as well as the issue ofconcern in the current paper. The position taken in the paper hasalso been outlined in the introduction.
Thebody of the paper covers the overview of the case as well as thebroad discussion of the position taken. The case has outlined theremarks that were made by Phil Robertson regarding homosexuality, hisfiring as well as reinstatement. In the position taken in the casepart, a comprehensive discussion of freedom of expression has beenoffered. The paper has supported Phil’s rights to express himselffreely and has offered various arguments to support the same.
Lastly,this section has offered the general conclusion of the paper. Thisincludes the summary of major points discussed in the paper.
Freedomof expression is a controversial topic of discussion especially inthe contemporary society. This paper has focused on Duck Dynasty’sPatriarch, Phil Robertson who was suspended by A&E networkfollowing is remark regarding homosexuality. Phil equaledhomosexuality to bestiality. The issue brought major controversiesand eventually Phil was reinstated in Duck Dynasty following supportfrom the public. In response to the criticism put forth regarding hisremarks, Phil defended himself using his own personal live. The paperhas supported the position that Phil’s viewpoint exhibited hisrights to exercise freedom of speech. This has been supported by anumber of reasons provided in the discussion. For instance, throughcommunication, numerous thoughts and information are brought forth.Freedom of expression and expansion of mass media in the contemporarytime have enabled people to be more knowledgeable and informed. Thesociety has been influenced greatly by media and this has been ofgreat benefit as it has left a great impact on people. With referenceto this, it is true to argue that by expressing his own opinionfreely, Phil was able to enlighten the society regarding the issuesof homosexuality. In the United States, freedom of speech is defendedby the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Besides, there arenumerous state constitutions and federal laws and regulationsprotecting individual freedom of expression. Besides, the FirstAmendment safeguards freedom of expression by not allowing stategovernments to formulate laws which violate freedom of expression.Freedom of expression does not concern sexual partiality or religiousaffiliation. It concerns the rights of having certain opinions andbeliefs and being permitted to voice them.
TheAmerican realism television show, Duck Dynasty, is featured on A&E.The show depicts Robertson’s family lives. The family became richthrough its operated business. Duck Dynasty has broken a number ofranking records both on cable television and A&E entirely.Nevertheless, A&E declared the indistinct suspension of thefamily patriarch, Phil Robertson, from the TV series. The declarationwas made on December 18, 2013 following a GQ interview whereby Philmade anti-gay remarks (Finn par. 2). The remarks were broadlyaccounted in the media as they were deemed to some as offending tothe lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. AfterPhil was suspended from the show, a countrywide debate initiatedregarding religion and tolerance. After nine days of suspension, Philwas recalled back due to support from the public. The currentresearch paper investigates the controversy of the suspension. Whilesome people argued that Phil’s point of view was misguided as itoffended the LGT community, others argued that he had a right toexercise freedom of speech. The paper supports the position thatPhil’s viewpoint exhibits his rights to exercise freedom of speech.This has been supported by a number of reasons provided in thediscussion. These include the First Amendment of the Constitution ofthe United States that allows individuals freedom of speech.
Overviewof the Controversy
Theinterview was hosted by Drew Magary of GQ in which Phil Robertsonprovided his opinion regarding homosexuality. As put forth by Phil inhis comment, he preffered heterosexual sex as compared withhomosexual sex. According to the network, Phil’s comments asfeatured in GQ were disappointing and were founded on his personalopinions. Besides, the beliefs were not mirrored in Duck Dynasty showor in the A&E networks, the reason for the indistinct suspensionfrom filming (Finn par. 2). In their statement, A&E networks arestrong backers and campaigners of LGBT community. According to Phil,homosexuality was morally wrong and he compared it to bestiality.Several of the comments made were formulated through the use ofoff-color language. Criticism was extensive and manifest,encompassing censure from Gay & Lesbian Alliance AgainstDefamation (GLAAD) as well as the Human Rights Campaign. Thefollowing statement which was made public to Entertainment Weeklyread that A&E was upset by Phil’s remarks which were found onhis individual point of view.
Inresponse to the criticism put forth regarding his remarks, Phildefended himself using his own personal live. He put forward that hewas a creation of the 60s and his life focused on drugs, sex, as wellas rock and roll. However, this came to an end after he became saved.His mission in the current time according to him is to informindividuals regarding the teachings of the Bible (Greig & Collmanpar. 3). For instance, men and women are destined to be together.Phil also said that the fact that individuals are different from himdoes not allow him to treat the differently. All people are createdby God as similar to Him, he loves all humankind. Loving God and alsoloving one another would make people better.
PositionTaken on the Controversy
Thispaper takes the position that Phil’s viewpoint exhibits his rightsto exercise freedom of speech. This has been supported by variousarguments as discussed in this section. To start with, communicationis viewed as one of the greatest gift provided by God to human beingsthrough which, they are able to converse with each other. Without it,individual cannot be really human mirroring the image of God.Individuals have a right to exercise freedom of speech consideringthat they have their personal free will. Free will allows persons toexpress their aspirations, desires, as well as thoughts via the massmedia. Free communication with other people confirms the worth andself esteem of all societal members. Advancing and attainingknowledge requires individuals to be able to express themselvesfreely. Through communication, numerous thoughts and information arebrought forth. Freedom of expression and expansion of mass media inthe contemporary time have enabled people to be more knowledgeableand informed. The society has been influenced greatly by media andthis has been of great benefit as it has left a great impact onpeople. With reference to this, it is true to argue that byexpressing his own opinion freely, Phil was able to enlighten thesociety regarding the issues of homosexuality. Certainly, peoplethink differently regarding different issues and being allowed toexpress their opinion freely is of great importance. For instance,whilst some people support the issues of LGBT, others do not. Thisbrings the concern of free communication which is supported in thecurrent paper.
Inthe United States, freedom of speech is defended by the FirstAmendment of the U.S. Constitution (American Civil Liberties Unionpar. 1). Besides, there are numerous state constitutions and federallaws and regulations protecting individual freedom of expression.Nevertheless, the United States Supreme Court has identified a numberof groups of speech which are not included in the freedom. Withrespect to this, state governments are allowed to pass rationalplace, time, or way limits on speech. This is founded on the reasonthat free speech is not unlimited. On the limited areas to freespeech, other restrictions to freedom of speech stabilize rights tothe freedom of speech together with other rights. However,limitations are constructed between speech as well as other behaviorsthat usually have representational implications. In spite of theseexemptions, the lawful safeguarding of the First Amendment is amongstthe most extensive of every industrialized country. It also remainsan important and sporadically contentious element of the UnitedStates jurisprudence. In a nutshell, the dedication to the freedom ofexpression is extremely entrenched in the country awareness,strengthened by the First Amendment, and backed by a lengthy line ofdecisions made by the Supreme Court. With reference to this, it istrue to say that Phil had a right to express himself freely. This isper the First Amendment of the United States as well as the numerousdecisions made by the Supreme Court regarding freedom of expression.
Contentiousand offensive art has put forward to test individuals’ dedicationto free speech. Some argue that censorship should not be opposedconsidering that confusion and executions are dominated in televisionscreen. In some cases, masterpieces are perceived as direct affrontsto individuals’ religious beliefs, whilst sexually overt materialsare perceived to degrade women. In this case, the taste and moralityof the majority should be left to state what should be listened to bypeople. This implies that individuals should be left to offer theirviewpoints regarding various issues impacting the society. Thisincludes Phil’s opinion regarding homosexuality, putting intoconsideration that it is a controversial issue especially in thecontemporary society supported by some whilst others do not (Greig &Collman par. 3). In spite of the fact that Phil’s opinion was notsupported by A&E network, the current argument supports the viewthat freedom of speech is significant in every part of the society. Afree society is founded on the belief that all people have the rightto make a decision regarding the kind of information they want tohear, create, or obtain. Allowing individuals to express themselvesfreely necessitates others to also express themselves freely. It isat the center of the democratic system.
TheFirst Amendment safeguards freedom of expression by not allowingstate governments to formulate laws which violate freedom ofexpression. In spite of this, the amendment does not declare anythingregarding the consequences of expressing oneself freely. This impliesthat, despite Phil having the right to express himself regarding theissues of homosexuality, the controversy concerning his firing wasclear. Some of Phil’s critics argued that he went against the LGBT.Nevertheless, his supporters put forth that the LGBT has gottenuncontrollable as individuals are not permitted to express themselvesfreely. Certainly, LGBT cannot be accepted by all people and this isa fact that supporters necessitate to acknowledge. This includesaccepting that Phil’s comments were merely opinions as he did notagitate any person or advised others to attack on the homosexualpeople (Ford par. 1). That is, he just affirmed his personal opinion.Whilst the matter pertaining to homosexuality are becoming more andmore acknowledged in the contemporary society, not all people in thenation can accept it. Therefore, individuals should be allowed to putforth their opinions regardless of whether we agree or disagree withthem. Those in the gay community necessitate recognizing that theyare not collectively loved by all and that all people have thefreedom of expressing themselves freely regarding any issue.
Protectionof free expression by the First Amendment has been construed by theSupreme Court in broad ways. Protection covers information on books,posters, works of art, music videos, television, humorist books,together with other works produced by human beings (American CivilLiberties Union par. 3). The First Amendment is founded on theopinion that in a self-governing and free society, people should havethe freedom of coming into a decision regarding what they listen to,see, or read. Those who are disturbed by certain information have thefreedom of changing the TV channel, turning it off, or decliningwatching it.
TheUnited States is a free nation in which individuals are permitted tocommunicate their personal beliefs (American Civil Liberties Unionpar. 3). For Phil Robertson, he was entitled to express his ownopinion and he should not be victimized just because some felt thathe did not do the right thing. This is founded on the reason that theFirst Amendment does not limit individuals’ freedom of expression.After Phil was suspended from Duck Dynasty, Sara Palin, ex-Alaskagovernor tweeted in defense of Phil arguing that freedom of speechhas turned out to be an endangered species. Palin affirmed that the“intolerants” who hated on and took on the show’s patriarchafter he voiced his own beliefs took on all of us (Ford par. 4). Therights to freedom of expression can be exercised by articulatingobjections to elements of expression which individuals do not like.As put forward by Justice Louis Brandeis, more free speech ratherthan imposed silence is the cure for information that individuals donot agree with or find objectionable. This is true in the currenttime similar to the 1920s.
Freedomof expression does not concern sexual partiality or religiousaffiliation. It concerns the rights of having certain opinions andbeliefs and being permitted to voice them. Nevertheless, it seemedthat Phil’s opinion regarding homosexuality was not received welland it was binged of proportion. In the interview, Phil put forwardthat individuals should not judge but love all those people who werepointed out during the interview. God is the ultimate judge who willsort everything eventually. However, the media blew this out ofproportion and made people to be the victims of it all. This isfounded on the reason that the media merely centers on the negativeissues rather than the positive ones.
Whilsta court is making a decision regarding expressing oneself freely, itmust put into consideration two principles. The first principleconcern “content neutrality” which implies that, the governmentdoes not have the capacity to restrict freedom of expression merelybecause some of the listeners or most of the community members areoffended by the same. Therefore, tolerating information which appearsto be offensive, disgraceful or insulting to some should beconsidered. In this case, Phil’s opinion regarding homosexualityshould have been tolerated putting into consideration that he wasjust expressing how he felt as a human being (Elber par. 2).Secondly, freedom of expression should only be limited in cases whereit obviously results in direct damage to a significant interest ofthe society.
Theissue of homosexuality has been controversial among the society, andespecially in profession. The consequences of homosexuality led tothe suspension ofDuckDynasty’s Patriarch, Phil Robertson by A&E Network Company.However, their suspension was received with major controversies,which resulted to Phil been reinstated in Duck Dynasty followingsupport from the public. Phil defended himself using his own personallive. As a result, this paper has supported the position that Phil’sviewpoint exhibited his rights to exercise freedom of speech.
AmericanCivil Liberties Union. Freedom of Expression in the Arts andEntertainment. 2002. Retrieved fromhttps://www.aclu.org/free-speech/freedom-expression-arts-and-entertainment
Elber,Lynn. Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson will return to A&E afterbrief suspension for anti-gay statements – but will ratings sink orsoar? 2013. Retrieved fromhttp://arts.nationalpost.com/2013/12/30/duck-dynasty-star-phil-robertson-will-return-to-ae-after-brief-suspension-for-anti-gay-statements-but-will-ratings-sink-or-soar/
Finn,Natalie. Phil Robertson Suspended From Duck Dynasty Over Anti-GayComments, 2013. Retrieved fromhttp://www.eonline.com/news/492342/phil-robertson-suspended-from-duck-dynasty-over-anti-gay-comments
Ford,Dana. Duck Dynasty` star suspended for anti-gay remarks, 2013.Retrieved fromhttp://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/18/showbiz/duck-dynasty-suspension/
Greig,Alex & Collman, Ashley. We`re emboldened`: Duck Dynasty familycelebrates after A&E Reverses Phil Robertson`s suspension – butactivists say network has chosen `profits over gay people, 2013.Retrieved fromhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2530362/We-emboldened-support-Duck-Dynasty-family-reacts-lifting-patriarch-Phil-Robertsons-suspension-anti-gay-remarks-outpouring-support.html