GQ published an interview with "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson on Wednesday that outraged many of the show's viewers and possibly the network's advertisers.
His anti-gay slurs were enough for the network to indefinitely suspend the reality star from the show. This, of course, sparked heated debate in terms of Robertson's freedom of speech.
Onetime vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin voiced her opinion in a Facebook post Wednesday. She wrote:
"Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants' hatin' and taking on the 'Duck Dynasty' patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us."
While Palin did not directly address A&E's decision to suspend Robertson, Cosmopolitan writer Alex Rees made it very clear in a blog post Thursday.
"For A&E to muzzle him over an issue they could have probably seen coming seems excessive," wrote Rees. "It allows a certain set to turn the controversy into one about free speech rather than a discussion over whether it's nice (or even particularly Christian) to think that a man loving another man is inherently wrong."
Palin and Rees, you're both wrong. This issue has nothing to do with free speech. It's what it always is -- money.
"Duck Dynasty" is a show centered on a family that went from rags to riches by selling duck-calling devices for hunters. It's not a show about a family of bigots. They have a set of beliefs, like eating raccoon poop, but homophobia isn't what advertisers signed up for.
Fans of the show should dry their tears over one person being suspended. If enough sponsors cut ties with the show, the entire series risks cancellation. Thus, you'll be left with "Criss Angel Mindfreak" and reruns of "Gene Simmons Family Jewels." You get the idea.
A&E seemingly felt its best interest was to keep a positive relationship with sponsors. Robertson was on the losing end of the stick.
The network did not jail, arrest or fine the reality star for his comments. Heck, Robertson wasn't even fired. He's just taking a few days off.
With that being said, A&E doesn't necessarily deserve praise for taking a stand against discrimination. Because that's not what the front office did. Their reaction was based on profits not parity.
I don't blame them.