Saturday, December 21, 2013

Shame On You A&E!

Nope. It's not what some of you are thinking. I'm not talking about the suspension of Phil Robertson - at least not directly. I believe they were wrong for doing it (and I'll get into that further down) but if they have a clause in the contract about employees not doing anything that detracts from the company image then it is perfectly within their right to suspend or fire him. As was pointed out in an article yesterday - there is a difference in legal freedom of speech and doing something that violates your contract. (Of course - we don't know what the contract says or if he will be fired. That's still up in the air.)

The reason I say "Shame on you A&E" is because of what they're doing since the suspension of Phil Robertson. Just days after they did it the network is showing back to back episodes of Duck Dynasty on Sunday, beginning at 7pm and running consecutively until 4am Monday. Are they serious about their dissolution with Phil? He's in every show they're going to run. They're going to make advertising dollars from each show. So I guess their displeasure with what Phil said doesn't take precedence over making the big bucks from the most popular show on TV. (It is my understanding they ran back to back shows last night as well but I can't verify that.) Can you say "hypocrite?"

Another part of the same article said that Phil Robertson's suspension for what he said was no different than Martin Bashir being forced to resign from MSNBC or Alec Baldwin being fired from the same network for what they said. And that would be wrong as well.

Phil Robertson made the controversial remarks in an interview with GQ magazine. The interview had nothing to so with the show except for the fact that if he wasn't on the show they would have no reason to interview him. The article itself seemed suspiciously like a hit piece to me - "let's get him to say something we can sensationalize." That's just my opinion. And he was suspended before the magazine issue even hit the newsstands.

Martin Bashir used his TV show to attack and say vulgar things about a specific person - Sarah Palin. That alone makes it completely different. And it still took MSNBC two weeks to do anything about it - probably for the same reason - it was Sarah Palin. That network's pundits have long been attacking her without repercussion.

Alec Baldwin was fired immediately for calling a reporter names which were seen as derogatory against gays. In this politically correct world it seems you must be careful what words you choose depending on who it is you want to insult or attack. If you're attacking a Christian or a conservative it's apparently not as big a deal as if you're attacking Muslims, gays and lesbians or a liberal politician.

Should Baldwin have been fired for something he said on the street that had nothing to do with the network that employed him? I don't know. It's not like MSNBC didn't know Alec Baldwin had a history of gay slurs. He's been in the news more than once for it.

In the same way - A&E knew who Phil Robertson was and I have no doubt they knew what his beliefs are about homosexuality. But in this politically correct world where no one is supposed to say anything that offends anyone, (unless you're attacking Christians or conservatives, that is) voicing a personal opinion to anyone can get you in trouble.

Apparently A&E isn't quite willing to put its money where its beliefs are. Suspending Phil Robertson and then continuing to air marathon episodes of the show he's on is hypocritical at best. Do they have the right to do it? Certainly. Should they be complaining about Phil Robertson and still making money from him? I guess that's a decision you have to make for yourself.

A&E's statement concerning Robertson was ""We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series 'Duck Dynasty'," the network said in a statement.

"His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely."

They should have added one more sentence...  "We will continue to make as much money as possible from Robertson and his family while he is suspended."

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