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Does Duck Dynasty star's suspension violate free speech? - abc27 WHTM

Does Duck Dynasty star's suspension violate free speech?

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

"Duck Dynasty's" Phil Robertson is suspended from the show indefinitely for his comments about homosexuality.

It has created a lot of controversy. Many people claim that the suspension infringes on Robertson's First Amendment rights.

"Duck Dynasty" is the most popular show on television. Now, Robertson is getting even more attention after controversial comments he made in the January issue of GQ Magazine.

Robertson compared homosexuality to bestiality saying, "It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."

"Whether they're homosexual, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort 'em out later, you see what I'm saying," Robertson added.

Many people said the suspension that followed is an infringement of his First Amendments rights. Widener University law professor Michael Dimino said that is not so.

"If it were the government that's deciding to suspend or fire an individual because of a certain way he thought about a hot button issue, that would be a different story, but because A&E is private it can decide to favor or not favor whichever views it wants," Dimino said.

Dimino added that the suspension could be viewed as discrimination, but it is not illegal.

"We have certain laws banning certain kinds of discrimination, but there's no law banning discrimination because of viewpoints about sexual orientation," Dimino said.

A&E may be safe, legally, but Dimino said the chief consequence will come from the public jury.

"It's entirely possible that people who agree with Robertson or who think that at least he shouldn't have been suspended would decide not to watch A&E programs and not to buy A&E merchandise and not to support advertisers who advertise on A&E," Dimino said.

Dimino added that the same would be true if A&E had done nothing. In that case, people who object to Robertson's views would likely boycott the show.

 

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