After Phil Robertson, star of reality show “Duck Dynasty,” made outrageously anti-gay remarks in an interview with GQ Magazine, he got an “unlikely boost” on Wednesday, December 19 when CNN anchor Don Lemon voiced disagreement regarding Robertson’s “indefinite suspension” from the A&E network. While host Piers Morgan took his usual stance, calling in the cavalry for Robertson’s demise, Lemon, who happens to be an out gay man, told the evening audience that the Louisiana native was simply exercising his lawful right to the First Amendment.
“I don’t think people should be fired. I think the marketplace should decide. If people don’t like ‘Duck Dynasty,’ they shouldn’t watch ‘Duck Dynasty,’” Lemon said on-air with Morgan.
“I think people should be allowed to say what they want,” he later added, “and if they hang themselves, they hang themselves.”
For those still playing catch-up, the 67-year-old duck-hunter unleashed his religious views regarding homosexuality in the January issue of GQ.
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there,” Robertson told the GQ interviewer, when asked what he thought to be sinful. “Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”
Following the interview’s release, members of the LGBT community broke into an uproar about the southerner’s anti-gay quotes, causing the A&E Network to place Robertson and the show on indefinite suspension.
GLAAD called Robertson’s brash comments some of “the vilest and most extreme” uttered against the gay community “littered with outdated stereotypes and blatant misinformation.”
The “Duck Dynasty” front man also took things one step further when he claimed that he “never, with my own eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person,” prior to the civil rights movement. He added that the black people he “worked with” were “godly, they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
But while one CNN anchor believes that Robertson shouldn’t have been reprimanded for utilizing his right to free speech, another explained that avoiding consequences for what you say is not exactly what the First Amendment is about.
“The Federal Communications Commission did not send officials into the office of Nancy Dubic, president of A&E Networks,” anchor LZ Granderson wrote in an opinion piece on the CNN site. “The FBI did not threaten to put Robertson away, and the Internal Revenue Service didn’t freeze his bank accounts. This is what the First amendment protects us from.”
Granderson further stated that although the First Amendment is meant to protect citizens from laws being made that restrict the freedom of religion, speech, and/or press, that it doesn’t protect one from the wrath and judgment of society—the culture of the popular.
“The First Amendment will keep you from going to jail,” the anchor wrote toward the article’s closing. “But it is not a get-out-of-jail-free card in the eyes of society.”