So being home for Winter Break is great. I have tons of free time which means lots of tweets and time wasting. So of course last night while perusing the twitter, I came across a tweet that was taking sides in the newest celebrity scandal involving Duck Dynastys Phil Robertson. The tweet went something to the tune of Liberals will let Miley Cyrus Twerk on a Stage and won’t do anything but won’t let Phil Robertson express his own feelings. Of course being Liberal minded like myself I took some offense to this. 1. Because I don’t think Miley Cyrus twerking on a stage had anything to do with Liberals…nor were they proud. 2. Because it represents the broad misunderstanding of others to comprehend the larger issue at hand.
I should go on record before Monologuing and say I do not particularly care for the show Duck Dynasty, I don’t really understand it nor will I ever understand it. However, for Many Duck Dynasty is a really important part of Their Life, for those of you that share my views here is the Background. E! Released a statement yesterday that Phil Robertson was suspended due to Anti-Gay Remarks he made in an interview with GQ Magazine. So of course, America has an opinion. Heres Mine:
There are two main points to almost every story. In the case of Phil Robertson, I think the First is Free Speech. While I do not feel the same way Phil Robertson or agree with what Phil Robertson said, I think everybody has the right to free speech. If I learned anything in Communication Law, I learned that you have to fight for free speech even when you don’t believe or agree with what the other person is saying (Thanks Dr. Buck!). Phil Robertson has the right to an opinion, because the constitution says he gets a right. Everybody is so worried sometimes about agreeing and being on the same page that we forget that realistically that won’t ever happen. People are entitled to whatever opinion they want to have, Welcome to America, you can sing your Lee Greenwood Now. I don’t agree with what he said, but he didn’t do anything wrong.
The other part of this particular saga is the Business Part., and more specifically Money and how TV shows make it.
Duck commander is a national company based in West Monroe, Louisiana. Its revenue in 2012 according to the most knowledgeable of sources (Wikipedia) was $40 million dollars.They are famous for engineering duck calls which range for anywhere from 30 dollars to 200.00. There products are sold nationwide at retailers such as Cabelas, Bass Pro Shop, and even Walmart. Additionally, Duck Commander is the subject of a television show on A&E chronicling the everyday lives of those who participate in the operation of the business. The TV show brings brings in additional revenue for the 15 people who work at Duck Commander. A&E as a television network has thousands of contracts with Advertisers who agree to pay the network for putting their advertisements on the air during times which they will be profitable..such as during Duck Dynasty.
Whether you believe it or not, as a television star you are always a representative of the network to which you belong, same goes for Radio, Newspapers, web journals, Magazines ect. It doesn’t matter the medium, your words and actions CAN and WILL be held against you. This is not the first time that something like this has happened. In 2012, Dear old Rush Limbaugh decided it would be a great idea to defame a womens character on his radio show. This women just so happened to be fighting for Contraception rights in congress. He called her a Slut and a prostitute on the Air. A media firestorm erupted and within 24 hours Rush had lost several of his major advertisers with several more threatening to do the same without an apology to the woman who he made the comment about.
Advertisers sell products to people, who in turn make advertisers money because they buy the advertisers product. Advertisers then pay the television network and TV show. When you make comments that offend the people that advertisers represent(i.e. those who purchase the product), they don’t so much appreciate that, because then people don’t buy their products and they don’t get paid. While it may seem devastating to some, I think A&E was within its full rights to protect its assets, because without advertising dollars you don’t get paid…which means no Duck Dynasty on TV at all.
Back to my original tweet anger. The reason that no action was taken against Miley Cyrus is because MTV networks made the decision not to take any action against Miley Cyrus. MTV is known for scandalous television. They obviously don’t care about their image nor do their advertisers. I think if America had its ways they would likely have made something happen after the Miley performance. Maybe if Duck Dynasty was on MTV…maybe there would be no repercussion for such remarks. However, Duck Dynasty isn’t on MTV…Its on A&E.
Free Speech is great, but it isn’t always free…especially when somebody else is paying for your TV show.
So what personal lesson can we take from this. First, don’t ever get involved in television you won’t be able to have your own opinion. Two, be careful the topics which you take a side on publicly..especially emotionally and religiously charged ones such as LGBT rights and the church. However, I think you have to be aware of who you represent when you speak.