*DISCLAIMER: I am in no way affiliated with the Robertson family, Duck Dynasty, or A&E. This is just a personal viewpoint of why this decision may have been made.*
I know it’s taken me a few days to think of something meaningful to say regarding Phil Robertson being kicked off Duck Dynasty, but I’m hoping that this brings a greater understanding of why A&E did what they did.
First of all, I’m glad that everyone who is bashing A&E and defending Phil knows that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution grants freedom of religion, press, speech, etc. There’s a reason why it is indeed the first in our Bill of Rights and, ultimately, the law of the land - it is an important right to have as a citizen of the United States. Yes, Phil was expressing his right to free speech by his “homophobic” comments he made to GQ Magazine, and even if I do not agree with what he said, I absolutely respect his opinion if that is how he feels.
What most people seem to not realize about this whole situation is that when Phil was doing his interview with GQ, and also when he is in the public eye in any way, shape, or form, he is representing what essentially is his “employer” - A&E. As I learned in my Mass Communication Law class this past summer, First Amendment rights do not apply when your employer contractually forbids you to make any sort of comments that go against what the company believes. It appears that when A&E gave the go-ahead for Duck Dynasty to begin airing, they made Phil and the rest of the cast contractually agree to refrain from making comments that would offend anyone of a particular religion, race, sexual orientation, etc. while they are representing them in the public eye.
For example, if I was to say anything negative about my employer or if I was to make any sort of hateful comments about anyone to where the public can see them while I was representing my company, the same thing would have happened to me. Because I am contractually obligated to not make any sort of comments in my terms of employment, I cannot use my right to free speech as granted to me by the First Amendment to defend myself. Therefore, Phil cannot do the same.
It is unfortunate for Phil and for the rest of the Robertson family, who seems to be convinced that Duck Dynasty cannot continue without Phil. I have watched a few episodes myself and they all seem to be great people who are very grounded in their Christian beliefs and southern values, which I absolutely respect. Just because Phil said what he said, it does not at all take away from the fact that they are a wonderful family.
I hope that those of you who read this can get a better understanding of what happened, and be able to form your own solid opinion instead of just going with what the vast majority (who seems to have not looked further into the issue) has to say.