Kathy Griffin and Free Speech

Kathy Griffin and Free Speech

All of you know, from reading this column, I have a strong affinity for Free Speech.  I’ve written about it numerous times going all the back to 2009.  It is sacrosanct.  Nothing is more important in our Democracy.  I cannot say it any clearer.  And, the Kathy Griffin issue is an example of free speech.  Additionally, it is also an example of the free market working.

Kathy Griffin Controversy

For those of you who have had their head in the sand the past few weeks, Kathy Griffin did one of stupidest things I’ve ever seen.  She actually had the gall to post a picture of her holding a severed head which looked like President Trump.  Of course, it wasn’t Trump’s head.  It was a prosthetic.  But, that doesn’t matter.  It was one of the worst examples of bad taste I’ve ever seen.  She claims to have done it as satire and for laughs.

Almost immediately, both the left and right, came out against her.  It was one of the quickest crucifixions in the press I’ve seen.  Both sides cried out.  Accordingly, CNN fired her.  Then, the next day, she came out and apologized.  A few days later, she was saying President Trump ruined her career.  (To be honest, I didn’t even know she had one).  She actually tried to play the victim.  Well, Kathy, no one bought it.  You made your bed and now you have to sleep in it.

Bill Maher and the N WordBill Maher

Almost simultaneously, Bill Maher on his HBO show, used the N word.  And, from what I’ve seen, he didn’t necessarily use it in a bad or racist way.  He was making a point.  Again, the left and right ran amok.  Bill Maher, one of the darlings of the left, had become a pariah.  In fact, Senator Al Franken actually canceled his scheduled appearance on Maher’s show in protest.  Can you believe a liberal actually did that?

Now, I ask you:  What have we become?  I’ve argued many times PC has run amok.  Well, we’ve now reached the point of no return.

Before I go any further, let me explain exactly what the concept of Free Speech means:  It is the ability of someone to say what he wants, when he wants,  and without the government trying to stop it.  Accordingly, free speech has nothing whatsoever to do with the General Public or a television network.  It is the government that cannot stifle it.

Based upon this meaning, neither Kathy Griffin, nor Bill Maher, did anything illegal.  They were merely exercising their right to free speech.  The government did not stop them.  However, the free market did.  The free market came out 100% against what they did.  And, accordingly, both are now suffering the consequences.

Kathy Griffin was fired.  Her career is now in shambles.  Bill Maher lost a guest.  And, he also lost some of his credibility from the left.  The free market has reacted.  The people have spoken.  And, the two of them are paying the piper.

But, please don’t confuse this with a violation of free speech.  That has not happened.  And, I will argue forever they can do what they did.  The consequence, on the other hand, from the private sector, are a different story.

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2 Responses to "Kathy Griffin and Free Speech"

  1. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, ensuring that there is no prohibition on the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

    In Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, the U.S. Supreme Court considered two provisions of the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 (CPPA). The Court ruled that these provisions were over broad and unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

    Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz called the enactment of hate speech laws a “dangerous trend.”

    “I have never in my life seen a successful effort to define hate speech that does not interfere with rights of free expression,” Dershowitz told Newsmax. “It is a worthy effort, but my prediction is that it either leads to the conclusion government cannot do it, or that they will do it and that will infringe on First Amendment rights.”

    Many are more Hamiltonian when it comes to free press. Bear in mind, there is little here that would be in conflict with what you have said. Alexander felt that only a free press could check abuses of executive power. And he further stated that any restraint against the mechanics of publishing ought to be outlawed. And, with true greatness, he did not forego restraint or imply any absolution on the abuses of free speech. And while defending a “free press”, he most definitely implied that words and actions have consequences.

    The “right to free speech” must be consistent with the right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” There can be no prior restraint on the “press” but there must be limitations on when you infringe on the rights of others, cause harm, sedition or treason by virtue of that very “freedom of speech.”

    Yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater can cause chaos and harm. Thus it is an exception to the 1st Amendment. Thus moral exceptions can be proper.

    Kathy Griffin’s and Bill Maher’s actions psychologically boil with a well-polished façade of subliminal hate. They have every right to make an ass of themselves. In fact, these incidents are Freudian cracks, which allow us to see into the souls of others. And the cultural stigma that they do or do not earn, the adverse and perverse attention of the secret service, and society, is every bit due, and a consequence of their actions. This is the proper and real “push back” for the abuse of free speech. And those that approve of abhorrent behavior, please speak up, so others may peacefully disagree, marginalize you, even while we support your right to free speech. This is the very backbone of morality abstractly contrived, traditional values and constitutional laws.

    All actions have consequences. Victimization and excuses are cowardly. This is that civilized “turmoil” at the intersection of individual rights. Civil and libel laws are a restraint on the abuse of free speech.

    With certain limitations, to be sure, it is a ringing summation from Hamilton,

    “The office of the free press is there to give us early alarm and put us on our guard against the encroachment of power. Then this is a right of utmost importance, one for which, instead of yielding up, we ought rather to spill our blood.”

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  2. Great first comment! Well said article – So needed. We do need to discuss these things and expose what the differences are! Thanks GAMMY SPARKLES!

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