Did A&E violate ‘Duck Dynasty's' constitutional rights?

For those who are not familiar with the brouhaha over “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson, who made some rather nasty comments about gays and blacks in a upcoming article of GQ magazine. here‘s the rest of the story. Because of these remarks, A&E, the network on which his “Duck Dynasty” program airs, has suspended him from the show indefinitely.

Many of his supporters on Facebook are up in arms over this and claim his first amendment rights have been violated. Is that true? I’m not so sure. The first amendment in the U.S. Constitution protects you, me, and Phil of Duck Dynasty from thge government harassing, prosecuting, or bothering you for expressing your opinion, with the notable exception of advocating overthrow of the government. It does not protect you from your employer if you say something they deem offensive. Also, from what I understand, most acting contracts these days have clauses that forbid the actor from saying something that damages the network’s or company’s brand name. An example of this is the guy who was the voice of the Aflac Duck in their TV commercials. A couple of years ago, he said something offensive and lost his job. Today the Aflac Duck has a different voice.

So it would appear Phil crossed the line from A&E’s perspective.They suspended him, not fired him. Sort of giving him a serious warning about shooting off his mouth and offending some of A&E’s other viewers; many of whom, members of the GLBT and black communities, their paid advertisers desire to reach via A&E‘s programming.

Try going public saying something offensive about your employer, their products, or make some negative statement about a group of your fellow co-workers, and see how fast you’re looking for a new job. First amendment rights protect each of us from the government only, not your employer. Phil was lucky, he’s only suspended, not fired.


Here is the CNN link which posts some of the things Phil said in the GQ article, some of which I’d be embarrassed to type here as this is a family oriented newspaper.


It’s one thing for someone to share what God’s Word, the bible says about homosexuality, but Phil did far more than that and frankly I’m disgusted and embarrassed by his words. The question I have for Phil, as a fellow Christian, is where is your Godly love for others? He seems to forget the Bible passages that say, all of us are sinners. Those of us who are saved and made righteous in God’s eyes, are so only because of God’s grace, love and forgiveness and that our so called righteousness are like filthy rags. My suggestion to Phil is to go back and read all the red lettered words of Jesus in the Gospels, because he seems to have forgotten that part of the Bible, and unfortunately, so too have many of Phil‘s fans.

Mike Cannatelli lives in suburban Wilmington with his wife. He repairs electronic instrumentation to food industry uses to detect bacteria in food. He plays supper club music on the piano and is a voracious reader who is a registered Independent voter.