Why the Firing of Roseanne is not a First Amendment Issue
It had to happen. ABC/Disney had to find a way to get rid of the reboot of Roseanne’s show. Unfortunately, Roseanne herself gave the network a reason. Like clockwork, Leftists are blaming Pres. Trump.
It was a stupid thing for Roseanne to say, and if she had run her tweet by someone before she posted it, almost any person would have told her not to do it. Not only was it stupid, but it was wrong.
Last week I read that ESPN, owned by Disney, rehired Keith Olbermann even though he said the following about Pres. Trump: “F**ck you @RealDonaldTrump Nazi. Nazi f**k Nazi. Nazi RACIST. Nazi BIGOT go f**k yourself f**king Nazi f**kers.”
So what’s worse? Comparing Valerie Jarrett to a character from the 2001 reboot of Planet of the Apes‘ franchise (it’s interesting that Michael Clarke Duncan played an ape) or Nazis who started a war that led to the deaths of millions and the near extermination of Jewry in Europe?
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If ABC were consistent, they never would have hired Keith Olbermann, but there’s nothing that says they have to fire him. The same is true of Bill Maher who said the following about Donald Trump:
The color of his hair and the color of an orange orangutan is only two things in nature of the same color.
Trump threatened to sue Maher. Maher explained that “what got [Trump] so mad was, we did a new rule one week that, supposed, perhaps Donald Trump had been the spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan,” he said. Maher joked that he was “willing to offer $5 million to Trump to donate the charity of his choice — the Hair Club for Men, the ‘Institute for Incorrigible Douchebaggery’ — if the real estate mogul offers proof that he’s not the son of a monkey.”
Leftists aren’t known for consistency. Of course, there’s no law that says they have to be.
Let’s not forget ABC’s “The View” where Joy Behar described Christians as being “mentally ill.”
Here’s the thing. Disney/ABC/ESPN have every right to fire or not to fire whoever they want for whatever reason just like a baker should be free not to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
ABC/Disney/ESPN will have to deal with the marketplace. If you and I don’t like the media conglomerate’s hiring and firing practices, don’t watch their shows. It’s one of the reasons my wife and I dumped our cable. We were tired of paying for ESPN and other channels because we did not like their content.
The same principle should apply to bakers, florists, photographers, printers, and caterers. If you don’t like the way they conduct their business, don’t do business with them. It’s that simple.
I’ve seen some posts on Facebook who are complaining that ABC is violating Roseanne’s free speech rights. Similar arguments are being made for players in the NFL who want to make a political statement during football games.
These are not First Amendment worthy. Here’s the wording of the First Amendment:
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.
Notice the first word: Congress. Congress did not act to shut up Roseanne. Roseanne is free to make and support her comments on her own time and dime. Congress hasn’t passed a law against people saying stupid or bigoted things.
At the same time, a private company is not violating the First Amendment if it fires someone it believes has tarnished its corporate image.
Consider the NFL. It’s a private company. The teams hire players and pay them a lot of money. The team owners and the NFL body they belong to have a fiduciary responsibility to protect their brand and make money. The NFL has every right to prohibit demonstrations of every and all kinds if it so desires.
No one is forcing players to sign contracts to play football. They’re not slaves. If they want to protest, they have their own money and their own time to make their opinions known in other areas.
Players could band together and buy advertising for a commercial that would run during a game that expresses their views. Of course, the network could refuse to air it. No private company should be forced to air someone else’s opinion. This principle sh0uld also apply to bakers, florists, photographers, printers, and caterers.