Tuned In

Losing Your TV Job Is Not a First Amendment Issue

Cable TV, thank God, is not the government.

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Sigh. I can’t believe we have to explain this, over and over, every time a media figure loses a job (or just gets a for-show suspension) over saying something stupid, but: Losing your job for saying something that embarrasses your private employer–even if that is a media outlet–is not a free speech issue. It is not a First Amendment issue. It may be dumb, it may be justified, but it is not a constitutional violation. It is not for Phil Robertson, Alec Baldwin, Martin Bashir, Don Imus, The Dixie Chicks, Rush Limbaugh, or anyone else. People changing the channel or not buying your products because of what you said is not “censorship”; nor is losing a business deal for same.

Cable TV is not the government, thank God. But apparently some politicians both inside and outside the government could stand to reread the First Amendment.

 

234 comments
MaryMartin1
MaryMartin1

Can anyone cite a state law or court decision on this? I've read a lot of opinions but, I don't see any factually verifiable information cited. I am in an employment law class and have a case similar to this, I would be very interested to read something I can verify as fact. 


In my case the person is an employee who on her off time is a KKK member and gives a TV interview at a KKK rally, She tells the interviewer that she is a "Manager" but does not mention the Company name. However, she states that in her opinion her "Company" is becoming "wicked" because they are hiring too many "non-whites" and people of "Jewish" heritage.


I am to determine what course of action the company should take with this person.

armygirlrose
armygirlrose

I can't believe I have to say this over and over again. No T.V. is  not a government issue, however,  He did not say it on Duck Dynasty, not to mention he did not say it on A & E..  Hence he did not slander anyone as well. If the media had showed his true comment they would have seen the bible verses that were quoted, as well as his point that American values have declined. Since this was not on A & E  it did not reflect the station in anyway, however, the point is that it did  affect  his freedom of religion and his freedom of speech. Just saying., any good attorney could find a  huge  loop hole with this..... I wish they would post his full contract online so people could see for themselves... GLBC is nothing but a bunch of bullies, they can slander Christians all day and call them names but can't take someone not liking there lifestyles... It might be my opinion only but they are bullies...

RudyLeffler
RudyLeffler

What good are constitutional rights if your employer or others can take them away? If someone can control your speech and actions outside the work place, you are a piece of property. It's called slavery.

The constitution might as well be done away with.

rmformond
rmformond

Libtards have no clue. This may not be a First Amendment violation as far as a lawsuit may go, but it IS A&E not supporting the first amendment rights of their star. When intolerant liberal show hosts spew their anti-Christian BS on MSNBC or similar outlets we are told it's their first amendment right to do so and they rally around these bigots because of the first amendment. Lawrence O'Donnell has yet to be suspended for his libel and bigoted speech. Then again I guess that's why MSNBC has some of the worst ratings on cable news.

Lexa
Lexa

Not surprised Sarah Palin doesn't understand the difference between Freedom of Speech and Breach of Contract since she can't even read.  When asked which magazines she reads to keep current she couldn't name one.  Gov. Bobby Jindal

Networks NEVER allowed free reign aka freedom of speech...member censors???  Yah we still have those.  

dmorgan828
dmorgan828

I agree with a lot of the viewer's here, but this is getting pushed to far many things in our country needs addressed before a 100% red neck show that has no plot in the first place, but if some want to watch these un shaved nasty looking people great for them. TV has got to the point not many shows worth   seeing unless its 40 plus years old. never know if some one naked or fail sex or words will be used in front of our kids and grand kids, lets take our country back care for the USA and what it stood for when our grand parents came to New York by ship from the old country, or when our parents had a family .not for the world to know when they went to rest room or any other issues   during the day ,Merry  Christmas   and may God Bless America, ! now there are   words we all should be worrying about  loosing with free speech, not some silly  a## show ratings , again Merry Christmas to the world. 

Divdar
Divdar

Yes, there was no government intervention.  Nobody was arrested, jailed or fined.  But for those who are saying it's not an issue of free speech, you need to start correcting yourself on the phrase of gay marriage is illegal.  It's not illegal.  Have a ceremony, exchange rings, change your social status.  Nobody will be arrested, jailed or fined either.

iknowall321
iknowall321

I agree the best place to discuss this is on Title VII...yet what A&E did still fails to violate Title VII, and was perfectly legal.  Title VII was meant to protect employers from discriminating for no purpose.  HOWEVER if there's a good reason for the discrimination, it's allowed.  Wikipedia quote "In very narrowly defined situations, an employer is permitted to discriminate on the basis of a protected trait where the trait is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular business or enterprise."


Certainly what qualifies as as "bona fide" is subjective.  My opinion is that A&E's actions were bona fide.  They have a public reputation to protect.  I'd also put in that category the Catholic Church refusing to hire a Jew.  Meaning what's good for the goose is good for the gander.  


What Title VII is meant to protect is a bunch of Catholics at John Doe Inc. (or any other company) from firing Jews, Blacks, Democracts, etc.  Put another way, I think it's fine that the KKK only take Catholics.  I think it's fine that the Aryan Nation won't take Blacks.  I think it's fine that the LBGT orgs won't hire straights, WFD won't hiring hearing, and non-Fox TV won't hire Bible thumping bigots...those are bona fide requirements for those orgs because of who they cater too.  


Yes, that's right, I put KKK on equal footing with LBGT in this case.  It's appropriate.  There is no "OK" definition of an organization.  Orgs define their values.  However I am not suggesting that KKK and LBGT's values are the same, just that they deserve equal rights.

giveyadialtone
giveyadialtone

It may not be a free speech violation but it is a violation of Title VII of the civil rights act of 1964

BryanRuff
BryanRuff

Those who won our independence ... believed that freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth; that without free speech and assembly discussion would be futile; that with them, discussion affords ordinarily adequate protection against the dissemination of noxious doctrine; that the greatest menace to freedom is an inert people; that public discussion is a political duty; and that this should be a fundamental principle of the American government.

Divdar
Divdar

While we say this isn't a 1st amendment issue, we are still embracing A&E bullying tactics  in forcing others to do what they want.  Whether it is giving up milk money or not talking about your beliefs, bullying is wrong.  It's A&E right not to have him on the show (unless there is a breach of contract on their part) because they don't agree with his position, just like it's a cakemakers right not to service those because they don't agree with the other's position.  Oh, wait, that's right, government came in and said we don't have a right to take action against someone just because we don't agree with them. 

BradHart
BradHart

What is even more important here and goes beyond any claim of First Amendment or Title VII claims is every TV performer signs a contract and every TV contract has 2 important clauses.  First, while not always enforced because what is said is usually benign banality,  every TV contract says you will not give interviews without getting prior permission to do so.  I can't imagine the legal team at A&E letting him go anywhere near GQ without a team of lawyers holding his hand and getting editorial review of the article.  Anyone who thinks they wouldn't bait him into saying something stupid only has a tenuous contact with the real world.  Secondly, every TV show contract has a clause that says you will do nothing that potentially jeopardizes the marketability of your show with the sponsors or the public.    He most certainly violated that clause.



BTW Bobby Jindal, I remember when republicans believed when employees broke their employment contract it was okay for their employer to fire them.

MariaE
MariaE

HMMMMM....one week before Christmas....Duck Dynasty memorabilia plastered everywhere for purchase.  Mugs, shirts, etc....Loyal fans outcrying the ABSURDITY of the show possibly canceling....what will happen?  Here's what will happen:  All of that crap you see at the gas stations and walmart with the Duck Dynasty logo on it will get snatched up because now they are "Collectors Items!"  THEN...behind the scenes negotiations will transpire, they will settle, and the show will go back on and get EVEN MORE VIEWERS!!!

See how that works?  Violation, schmiolation.  It's all about money in the pocket for both parties. We're being played.  (Well, I'm not.  I don't watch it.)

Merry Christmas ; )

Spencer60
Spencer60

Much as I hate to admit it, Time is 100% correct that this is not a First Amendment issue. 


There are probably other laws that cover his 'suspension', but to be honest, they are pretty irrelevant. 


The action they are taking as a family, mainly refusal to continue with the show, should be enough to set A&E back on it's politically-correct butt. 


There are plenty of other channels that would hire these guys in a minute. THis is far less about civil rights and far more about media arrogance and stupidity. 


NicholeRuggiero
NicholeRuggiero

Thank you TIME for clearing this up for so many Americans.  This is NOT a 1st Amendment issue.  These are the same American's that don't want illegal aliens to become legal.  Those that go through the naturalization process know more about the American history, than most Americans. 

JamesRichardTyrer
JamesRichardTyrer

Better take the time to read the WHOLE First Amendment.  Losing your job due to discrimination based on your religious beliefs is a First Amendment issue.

JamesGoss
JamesGoss

"Sigh. I can’t believe we have to explain this, over and over, every time a media figure loses a job" over speaking their (Christian) faith. Some politician brings up the 1st amendment and then some quack columnists from magazines/sites like TIME criticizes the politician for wrongly using the 1st amendment when they themselves are missing a very important law that they typically love to bring up. It's the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That law specifically protects all citizens from losing their jobs(public or private) based on religion. Phil Robertson expressed his religious believes when in a private interview with another pathetic magazine off in the middle of the woods of Louisiana past where the parish even maintains the roads. He wasn't on the set of Duck Dynasty. He wasn't in front of live television. He wasn't speaking to a bunch of gay people. He was not representing A&E or their policies but rather his and his family's religious beliefs. He was in the middle of the woods where he allowed a columnist from GQ magazine ride along with him and he expressed his faith. That is most definitely a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

jamesy1979
jamesy1979

@armygirlrose it doesn't matter.  if what he does, past or present hurts his employer, like in this case; it offended a large group of people, could hurt ratings, could make less companies buy commercials or pay less for commercials.  It's hurting their business, so they have every right to suspend/fire him.

as for GLBC being a bunch of bullies, that statement could not be more ignorant.  The gay community has no issue with Christians or the religion in general, only if those people make bigoted comments towards the gay community, then you see them defending themselves.

There really isn't a part of your comment that wasn't uneducated and ignorant.  Congrats.

umich04
umich04

@rmformond All you have demonstrated is a complete lack of understanding of the constitution.

I absolutely love how every post that includes the term "libtard" in it leads directly to the most incoherent and incorrect analysis known to man as written by the author. Us "libtards" aren't arguing an opinion or point of view, we are literally pointing out the manner in which the law is interpreted and applied. If you cannot understand this, you are simply not intelligent enough to comment on such issues.


The first amendment of the constitution gives you the right to speak freely without government persecution. You seem to be implying that the first amendment, or the "freedom of speech," somehow applies to the acts of other people, and we should be equally outraged when an employer (or anybody) censors speech. No, we shouldn't be, they are not the same thing in the eyes of the law or reality. Nobody has a right to their particular job. You conservatives seem to agree with this wholeheartedly when it suits you. We also live in a capitalistic society, which you conservatives seem to enjoy. Yet, market forces causing a company to make a decision somehow is wrong to you, yet is right in every other situation that opposes your view.

You just come off as marginalized when you cannot understand a concept this simple. Do you also think parents shouldn't scold their children for what they say? Are parents directly opposing the first amendment? Seriously, this is along the lines of what you are implying here.

waclark57
waclark57

@Lexa Nice argument. Typical liberal rant, however, which starts by insulting people rather than addressing the issues. So you think reading magazines keeps you up on current events? Seriously, like People or US Weekly? Or maybe your style is more Soap Opera Digest? If you want to stay current you don't need to read weekly or monthly magazines. They won't keep you current and in many cases will present a biased view of world and current events. I get a lot of information via the web and in many cases from blogs that aggregate articles from other sources. I couldn't begin to tell you what all those sources are. And it doesn't matter because I read multiple sources to get both sides of the story and then make up my own mind. Do you think busy politicians sit around and read magazines all day? Hardly, that is why they have staffers who gather information and present it to them in the form of briefs.


PS - in case you haven't noticed we don't have much censorship in cable TV these days.

UnPoliticallyCorrect
UnPoliticallyCorrect

@dmorgan828-Phil Robertson only expressed his personal opinions. Phil is a reality TV star. His success and popularity is based on his opinions. A&E fired a reality star for having controversial opinions? Are you kidding me? I suggest A&E executives need to visit a psychiatrist’s couch.

"The Duck Dynasty scandal is about intolerance. But the intolerance is on part of Hollywood and A&E. The star of a reality show is allowed to have opinions. If you don’t like them, you have no right to ban them. That’s tyrant’s behavior. That’s McCarthyism. That’s the attitude of police states we find in countries run by tyrants like Stalin, or Fidel Castro, or Huge Chavez, or the old East Germany.
I don’t have to agree with Phil Robertson to stand behind him. I support free speech. If it can happen to Phil, it can happen to anyone of us.

Defenders of A&E and Hollywood claim this is about “branding.” They say a private business (like A&E) has the right to decide it’s brand and fire anyone hurting its brand.

That would be true if this was a fair two-way street. I too support private property rights for business owners to run their businesses anyway they want. Only the CEO should decide who works for his company, not the government.


But this is not the way the rules currently work in America. Because if any private business said “I won’t serve a customer because of his race or sexual orientation”- would that decision be allowed by government?

If a businessman, in his own private business, decided to fire any employee that supports gay marriage, would that decision be allowed? If a CEO fired employees because they were atheist, would that decision be allowed? If a CEO fired a woman because she was an outspoken supporter of abortion, would that decision stand?

How about if a CEO concerned about his brand said, “You’re fired because your outspoken support of gay rights is killing my business”- would that decision be allowed?

More specifically, how about a TV network firing the star of a reality TV show because they made remarks in an interview supporting abortion or gay marriage or stem cell research. Would government, courts, or Hollywood accept that decision? Leftists and gay rights organizations would beg government to intervene. And we’d see $100 million class action lawsuits galore.

So it’s a lie to say that private businesses have a right to fire who they want. The law is only used to protect leftist and “progressive” views. This was never about “branding.” It was about the shock and horror when people who drink Obama-Kool-Aid realized that their biggest TV star actually believes in something they don’t. They had to rush to silence him."

rmformond
rmformond

@DivdarGay Marriage is illegal though in many states still. It's just not a criminal issue. It's more just not recognized as a legit marriage.

aztecian
aztecian

@Divdarif this guy is not the epitome of the kkk...man...you should hear what he said about african americans and picking crops, even the naacp is getting involved, demanding and apology.  this dukkk calling whakkkO is going down.

MattressCC
MattressCC

@iknowall321  actually, your definition of bona fide occupational qualification is where you go wrong. BFOQ may not be used as a defense the discrimination is not reasonably necessary to the normal operation of a particular business. Essentially this means if he can still perform his job, despite beliefs, BFOQ is not a valid defense. The employer must prove that the ability to perform the duties of the job are hindered by the BFOQ. The defense that it objects to the "central mission of the employers business" is more valid, but A&E claims their mission is "creating entertainment that celebrates the human story" on their website.


What you have is a very loose interpretation of the law that is not true in many cases. 

spam5900
spam5900

@iknowall321 I disagree.  They hired this family knowing full well they were Christian and prayed in his name.  Then to fire him for being Christian is NOT just cause.  It didn't hurt their reputation because this show isn't watched by homos and liberal idiots.  It is watched mostly by Nascar watching, rural, white God fearing people who believe in the Bible and believe in what Phil said.  The problem is that A&E liberal idiots put these rednecks on to make fun of them, but everyone ended up liking them and relating to them.  They hit cult status when they started going around praising God.  So it isn't about ruining anyone's reputation, but simply not agreeing with someone's religious beliefs and firing them solely for that belief.  A&E is not a Jewish network, or atheist network or any other kind of network that would prevent them from hiring a Christian.  If it was, they wouldn't have hired this highly religious family in the first place.

BradHart
BradHart

@giveyadialtone  There are several really good reasons this is not a Title VII violation and the biggest one is the people on the show are not actually employees of A&E.  There are at least two and usually three companies involved in the production of most television shows.  The first one is the network and actually has very few actual employees in terms of the number of people it takes to make a show.  They air the show and sell the advertising.  They also dictate to the production company what content they want to be included and excluded from a show.  They don't actually employ the actors on the show.  In suspending Phil they tell the production company,  Gurney Productions, they don't want him to have any screen time and Gurney Productions edits him out of the story.  The production company employs all the technical people: producers, directors, videographers, grips, etc.  A third company, usually called the show's name, hires all the entertainers.  While this company is almost always owned by the network or production company, they are a separate business entity entirely.    That is the only company any of the actors could actually file a Title VII claim against, but that company has not done anything that Phil or any others could file a claim for which assumes they are actually employees and not independent contractors.  While there are most likely contracts between A&E and all the parties involved at every level that does not make those people employees of A&E.

TyroneBiggims
TyroneBiggims

@giveyadialtone Wrong, This is not a Civil Rights issue. "Compelling interest" is a exception to the Civil Rights Act. The media is typically exempt because the courts have reasoned they have compelling interest if they can reasonably believe such comments might alienate a segment of their viewership, cost them sponsors, or cost them ratings. Whether it does or doesn't isn't really important. The courts have virtually always sided with the employment at will doctrine in these cases. It is the same idea of a movie director discriminating against a black actor for a white role, or a modeling agency refusing to hire a fat girl, or political organization firing someone who conveys a message that goes against the message of the group. They have a compelling interest to discriminate in these examples. Furthermore, the "compelling interest" clause and "at will employment" are hallmarks of conservative legal theory and form the basis of "right to work", "Corporate free speech", and "Corporations as individuals theory".

BradHart
BradHart

@BryanRuff The founders also supported a system that let employers hire and fire at will.  Workers had no rights the employer was bound to respect in early america and the founders were all good with this.  They were all supportive of master craftsman guild system that allowed apprentices to go unpaid and be beaten, so long as they didn't die from their injuries, for any infraction including taking a public stance in opposition to your master.  While most of the founders would have agreed with Phil's statements, they would have had nothing to say if he was fired on the spot.  Had they decided to dock his pay or beat him they would have told him he should be happy to have kept his job.

michael3
michael3

@Divdar Television is the ultimate free market, and lots of personalities -- on the left and on the right -- have lost their jobs (or their shows) for saying and doing something that pissed off lots of people. The list includes everyone from Bill Maher to Glenn Beck to Pee Wee Herman. It's not a First Amendment issue. It's entertainment.


And finally, if you think this is the same as outlawing a white-only lunch counter, or a straight-only bakery, you have a lot to learn about America. 

CarlLegg
CarlLegg

@MariaE 

I don't think any of these people were smart enough to think that through. But..... after the fact, they'll see the receipts rolling in and realize they fumbled their way into a windfall. But I doubt the show will continue.

CarlLegg
CarlLegg

@Spencer60  I think you're right. A&E could have parlayed this debauchery into an extra $50M revenue stream.

michael3
michael3

@JamesRichardTyrer Actually, proudly saying homosexuality is next to beastiality, and blacks had it better under Jim Crow isn't spouting a religious belief... it's just stupid speech. And it CAN get you fired from a show where public perception is everything...

burningrectum
burningrectum

@JamesGoss Only problem is he isn't being disciplined for his religious beliefs, which are by most regards displayed prominently on the show. He is being disciplined for using language his own family referred to as course and offending a segment of the population, that in turn pressured advertisers to pull their support for the show, which hurts A&E's bottom line. If you can show me the bible verse that mentions that the vagina is better than the anus or equates homosexuals with terrorists maybe then you can claim he was fired for his religious beliefs. 

GypsyNiabi
GypsyNiabi

@JamesGossEloquently spoken, Mr. Goss.  Thank you.  My concern is if we (Americans) let this go then what's next?  I thought We the People were the Government and therefore responsible for our neighbors and fellow citizens (all of them) not suffering any retribution for their beliefs or speaking their beliefs.

anonymoussurf
anonymoussurf

@JamesGoss  Hi James, interesting claim, but there's a few problems with it.  First, Robertson hasn't actually lost his job.  In fact, as of this writing, it's unclear whether his pay has even been affected.  Second, A&E can say that they are placing him on leave because of the statements he made about Jim Crow, which I don't believe would be covered by his religious belief.  Third, although Title VII covers religious belief, it does not necessarily cover every and all expressions of that religious belief.  For example, it would be very tough to convince a court that his religious belief requires him to say the things he did.   Finally, it would boggle the imagination that someone like Robertson who specifically, in that very interview, waxed lyrical about how things were BETTER for blacks pre-Civil Rights would then have the audacity to bring suit under Title VII.  


spam5900
spam5900

@aztecian @Divdar he said the blacks he worked side by side with were always happy.  OMG!?!?  WHAT A RACIST?!?!  

burningrectum
burningrectum

@spam5900 @iknowall321 He was not fired for being a Christian. He was suspended for saying stupid things that some people find offensive, and pressured companies to pull adds which hurt A&E's bottom line. If you can show me the bible verse that discusses the hierarchy of genitalia desirability or equates homosexuality to terrorism, then you may have a point. The very fact that you can go to the A&E website right now and see an episode depicting the family preparing for a nativity scene or read the cast descriptions about their faith completely undermines your assertion that he is being persecuted for religious beliefs. 

KyleBaxter
KyleBaxter

@BradHart @giveyadialtone the robertsons signed a contract making them the stars of a reality show that is aired on A&E. Therefore they are employed by A&E, hence they are employees of A&E.

rmformond
rmformond

@michael3@Divdarforcing a bakery to make a wedding cake for a gay marriage against the beliefs of the owners of the bakery is the exact same thing. That was a direct violation of the first amendment. Only a libtard would think otherwise. Looks like you have a lot to learn about America. There is a freedom of religion issue there my friend. You might have a point if they refused to sell them cookies or a birthday cake. Those bakers were targeted and they were the ones who had their rights violated.

michael3
michael3

@CarlLegg @MariaE Actually, this MAY be one giant publicity stunt. While A&E said Phil is suspended from all future filming, there's an entire season of Duck Dynasty in the can, and set to premiere in January. Stay tuned.

PaulaBrooks
PaulaBrooks

@JamesRichardTyrer  The First Amendment reads :"CONGRESS shall make no LAW respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."  ts applied to state and local governments via the 14th.  Just as the article says, A&E is NOT the government and they made no  LAW.



spam5900
spam5900

@anonymoussurf @JamesGoss If he believes in the Bible, then his religion WOULD require him to say that homosexuality is a sin.  That is very simple.  Every article I've seen has a GLAAD spokeman being the one who initiated this suspension and GLAAD has nothing to do with Jim Crow.  In fact, she tried to (incorrectly) say that Christians don't think homosexuality is a sin even though it is pretty clear cut.

UnPoliticallyCorrect
UnPoliticallyCorrect

@aztecian@BradHart@spam5900@Divdar- NAACP are bigger racist than any other segment of our society. I am curious, where in that entire article did he say blacks should go back to the days of Jim Crow? Oh, my bad you are ASSuming and reading in to something so that you can invoke your race card, which of course has officially been DECLINED! But hey, go and tell the 4 adopted kids his family has, one of which is black that your ASSumption is code word for what he really said, in your mind of course!

UnPoliticallyCorrect
UnPoliticallyCorrect

@BradHart@spam5900@aztecian@Divdar- really? That is what he said, this line for whites and the other for colored? WOW, can you point to that portion of the article or are you, with your awesome intelligence ASSuming? FYI - I am sure the 4 adopted kids in his family, one of which is BLACK would love to know your ASSumptions.......you are such an uneducated BIGOT!

aztecian
aztecian

@BradHart@spam5900@aztecian@Divdar exactly and what he said about them being happy and then implying now in today's world they were not and best off before in the conditions of being slaves.  this is pure hate.  naacp is now stepping in!

BradHart
BradHart

@KyleBaxter @BradHart @giveyadialtone Employed at or by and employees of a company are very different things.For example I am employed by several local small businesses to maintain their websites, but I am not their employee.  The people who most retailers have doing their floors every night are employed at the retailers, but are not employees of the retailer.  A&E only distributes the show and has content oversight, they do not directly employ the people who make the shows.

spam5900
spam5900

@michael3 @CarlLegg @Spencer60 Might be too late.  And Christians who feel A&E is anti-Christian will stop watching their other shows.  And may boycott the sponsors who do pay for ads on A&E

anonymoussurf
anonymoussurf

@spam5900 @anonymoussurf @JamesGoss  


First, the Bible does not require people to speak out against every sin that's going on everywhere in the world.  No one would get anything done given the sheer volume of sin.  In fact, Jesus seems to suggest the OPPOSITE:


"And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”


JOHN 8:7


Second, even if the Bible requires Christians to speak out against every instance of sin, it certainly doesn't require him to use inflammatory and graphic language in order to make his point.


Third, and most importantly, a Civil Rights claim under Title VII must be brought under the COMMERCE CLAUSE of the Constitution.  Commerce, is defined in the act as:


(g) The term "commerce" means trade, traffic, commerce, transportation, transmission, or communication among the several States; or between a State and any place outside thereof; or within the District of Columbia, or a possession of the United States; or between points in the same State but through a point outside thereof.


Therefore, the original poster is totally incorrect when he states that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 could be used as a way to punish A&E.



Finally,  here's the actual letter from the NAACP and HRC:


We want to be clear why Phil Robertson’s remarks are not just dangerous but also inaccurate. Mr. Robertson claims that, from what he saw, African Americans were happier under Jim Crow. What he didn’t see were lynching and beatings of black men and women for attempting to vote or simply walking down the street. And his offensive claims about gay people fly in the face of science. In fact, it’s important to note that every single leading medical organization in the country has said that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being [lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender] -- it’s not a choice, and to suggest otherwise is dangerous.


http://www.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/HRC_NAACP_Letter_121813.pdf