The controversy surrounding the A&E reality show “Duck Dynasty” has certainly given us something to talk about at holiday parties. Whether we fall on the side of God, or if we’re just shaking our heads wondering how a man like Phil Robertson could seemingly obliterate his reputation faster than he can shoot a brace of ducks out of the sky, we’re talking about it.
For about a week now, pundits have been screaming about Mr. Robertson’s right to believe what he believes, and how his First Amendment rights have been violated by the cable television network that carries his family’s show. Just Google the man’s name and you’ll be knee deep in rhetoric about how he’s being persecuted by his employer, and persecuted for his beliefs. The bottom line is, we are all free to believe what we want, but when you embarrass the company that picks up the tab, you run the risk of getting canned for saying the wrong thing. That holds true for people who have millions in the bank, and for those of us living paycheck-to-paycheck. But, when you go from living life as a garden variety redneck, to becoming the most popular thing on television, you might want to err on the side of caution and think before you speak. The executives at A&E, and any other employer for that matter, aren’t supposed to malign your faith, but when you say something that hits them squarely in the bottom line, you can be sure there will be hell to pay.
People like Phil Robertson are the reason why human resources executives want to pull their hair out of their heads while hiding under their desks. In today’s corporate environment, there is no more tap-dancing across the line of respectful behavior. Either you tow that line, or you put your livelihood in jeopardy. Even if you believe your comments are well-meaning, the possibility exists that you will offend someone, and that someone will take to their Twitter feed or Facebook account and pretty soon, you will need a public relations expert to put out an inferno. The way to avoid that scenario is to just keep your opinions to yourself. When you are good and gosh-darn certain you are among like-minded friends, family members or other individuals, share away. But while you toil in the court of public opinion, carry some duct tape; you might need it to slap across your mouth to prevent yourself from saying something you will probably regret.
In keeping with the spirit of the season, good will towards everyone is certainly in order. Regardless of gender, race and sexual orientation, we all deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. It’s one thing to claim to love everyone, but if you claim it, and then ridicule a certain group of individuals, isn’t that a sin? Ask Phil Robertson; he seems to know. If you want to consult some experts, online training is the way to go.
Happy New Year to everyone from all of us at Coggno!