So Let’s Talk-Bill of Rights: First Amendment

Bill of Rights 101: The First Amendment pertains to the freedom of speech.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (US Archives, archives.gov. Text bolded for emphasis)

This amendment was put in place to protect you from being arrested by police or government entities based on what you said. This DOES NOT protect you from being removed or barred by a private entity.

I know many are upset over Phil Robertson over being suspended from A&E’s “Duck Dynasty,” and that’s okay. (despite my disagreements with the statements he made that caused the suspension.) However, those who are crying “First Amendments Rights have been violated” because of the events surrounding Phil Robertson is nothing more than hyperbole and an insult to the people who sacrificed their lives so that we can even have that right. First Amendment Rights does not cover what a private entity does in response to what you say.

In other words, I have the right to talk about sexually explicit material at a Toys R’ Us without fear of being arrested for said speech. However the management has the right to kick me out of the store, (or ban me) since that place is a private entity and saying such material would (obviously) be very inappropriate for such a location. If I refuse the leave, then the police have the right to escort me out or arrest me for disorderly conduct, but they cannot arrest me for what I said. (Unless I made a threat, which is an entirely different can of worms.)

What A&E did is what many networks do-protecting their viewer marketshare. Whether you agree or not with Robertson’s statements, what he said has caused a stir. While I can’t speak for A&E, I can deduce this suspension is being done as a temporary ‘time-out’ to let the dust settle on what was said. From a marketing standpoint, A&E would have to be insane to cut one of their most successful shows as of late because of this, and the fervor that has been created from this event is evidence to Duck Dynasty’s popularity.

So relax. Have some eggnog or cider, curl up by the fire and just wait for the media stampede to blow over. If you are that distraught over the actions done towards a television show, you are more than welcome to contact the A&E network. This is a private network issue, not a government issue, so please leave government rights out of this.

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