GOPers defend reality TV homophobe, are confused about First Amendment

Texas Senator Ted Cruz with his finger raised

I don’t think Senator Cruz understands free speech.

So apparently there is a reality television show called Duck Dynasty, and one of the stars was suspended from the program for saying something homophobic. So naturally, the GOP is running to defend him. Wait what?

Yes, folks, for real.

Sarah Palin expressed solidarity with one of the stars of the television show “Duck Dynasty” after he was suspended from the program for making anti-gay comments.

Palin said reality TV star Phil Robertson was only voicing his personal opinions, adding that “free speech is an endangered species.”

“Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us,” the former Alaska governor wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday night.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) said he found many of Robertson’s remarks offensive but said people are entitled to express their own views. The “Dynasty” family lives in Louisiana.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz also joined in the fun, saying that anyone who believes in free speech should be “deeply dismayed.” Which brings me to only one conclusion: I’m not sure that these folks know what the first amendment and free speech actually mean? Yes, you are allowed to express your opinions, however unpopular. No one’s gonna arrest Mr. Duck Dynasty for being a homophobe. But just because you can say whatever you want, doesn’t mean that there will literally be no consequences to saying super hateful shit. I actually wonder if these folks understand this, or if other maybe less idiotic Republicans (do they exist?) are embarrassed by these folks complete failure to grasp this basic concept. Shit, I’m embarrassed for them.

1bfea3e7449eff65a94e2e55a8b7acda-bpfullVerónica mostly sticks to Love & Hip Hop and Hoarders when she’s watching reality TV.

New York, NY

Verónica Bayetti Flores has spent the last years of her life living and breathing reproductive justice. She has led national policy and movement building work on the intersections of immigrants' rights, health care access, young parenthood, and LGBTQ liberation, and has worked to increase access to contraception and abortion, fought for paid sick leave, and demanded access to safe public space for queer youth of color. In 2008 Verónica obtained her Master’s degree in the Sexuality and Health program at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She loves cooking, making art, listening to music, and thinking about the ways art forms traditionally seen as feminine are valued and devalued. In addition to writing for Feministing, she is currently spending most of her time doing policy work to reduce the harms of LGBTQ youth of color's interactions with the police and making sure abortion care is accessible to all regardless of their income.

Verónica is a queer immigrant writer, activist, and artist.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/jackys/ Jacky

    “Yes, you are allowed to express your opinions, however unpopular. No one’s gonna arrest Mr. Duck Dynasty for being a homophobe. But just because you can say whatever you want, doesn’t mean that there will literally be no consequences to saying super hateful shit.”

    THANK YOU. The First Ammendment prohibits LAWS against exercising free speech. It does not prohibit a private company from firing its employees. Yes, there are laws prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees, but homophobes are not a protected class.

    They can’t even claim that this is discrimination for his “political affiliation” because even if we all know that a certain major political party opposes gay rights (e.g., opposing same-sex marriage), no party openly claims that homosexuality is “a sin” as part of its platform.

  • http://feministing.com/members/sroxannef/ Shelby

    People don’t seem to grasp that Phil Robertson was almost definitely contractually obligated to not make a PR scene for A&E, lest he was willing to risk being terminated. They wouldn’t have been able to let him go so easily otherwise.
    Those contracts are drawn up and agreed on with the goal of protecting both parties, and A&E isn’t affiliated with the government, sooo… kind of confused by how the first amendment keeps being brought into this.

  • http://feministing.com/members/blogenfreude/ Steven Reiness

    Now keep in mind that law school is a distant memory for me, but I seem to recall that the Bill of Rights protects you from the government. The DOJ can’t stop you from saying stupid hateful racist homophobic shit, but A&E sure can fire you for doing so. And they did – took away this guy’s megaphone. Of course the right wing will hand him another one ….