Jul 4, 2014

Freedom Died When Anthony Cumia Was Fired



UPDATE #2: JULY 6th 2014:

So I wanted to throw in a little update on this post.  Nothing happened between Anthony & Sirius, other than a bunch of fans claiming they were cancelling their subscriptions.  This is more me clarifying some things, and adding some thoughts.

First off, the headline.  I think it's kind of humorous how many people who support Anthony die hard like, and yet they are RT'ing my link.  It makes me think they read the headline, and that's it, thinking it's a huge defense of Anthony's incredible racism.  I have to admit that is kind of funny.

Secondly, I think it's clear from what I wrote below, that I'm not a fan of Opie & Anthony.  Not a big fan of them or Howard Stern or any of those shock jock type guys. I think they simply traffic in the worst of humanity for the sake of shocking people.   They get off on that type of "Oh my God, what did he just say???" type of reactions from people that don't listen to the show regularly, and to try to one up what they've said before in order to try to shock even the hardcore listeners.

That's not my thing.  There is enough negativity and evil bullshit in the world, that I don't need more of it in the way of my entertainment.  There are many who like that stuff though, and hey, more power to ya folks.  If that's what you like, go for it.  I'm not downing you for that. I have a lot of friends who are huge Stern fans, and I think he is a bit less of an asshole than the O&A guys, but not by much.

Just my thoughts there.

As for Anthony being fired, I didn't really get into it below because that wasn't the point of me writing that. I was mainly responding to the idiots who think this is somehow a free speech issue, which it is not.  His free speech was not infringed in the least.  He was able to say what he said and no one stopped him.  He's the one who eventually deleted them (and every other tweet save a few from MLK day, oddly), nobody forced him to delete those.

His employer has the right to fire him if they feel he is a liability.  He has the right to speak, they have the right to fire him for what he said.  That's the way the world goes, my friends.  You may not like it, but that's the way it is, and the 1st amendment has jack shit to do with it.  Until the day the government comes in, in the form of the police, or whatever, to arrest him or fine him or whatever, this is not a 1st amendment/free speech issue.  People need to understand that.

Now SHOULD they have fired him?  That's not as clean cut, to me.  While I have no qualms about their right to fire him, I think they absolutely jumped the gun on deciding to fire him.  The thing is, he's known for being a racist asshole.  Everyone knows that about him, who knows anything about him and the show.  The show traffics in shit like that.

For years they've been hired and fired multiple times off the backs of publicity stunts and outrageous things they've said or did or encouraged others to say or do.   So what makes this different that suddenly SiriusXM, who was paying him a reported 3 million dollars a year, would just jump out in front of this and fire him?

Well, I think Social Media plays a major role in this happening.  We've seen how people on twitter can mount a protest against those they feel are causing damage to the discourse of society, whether it's attacking those such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, over their disgusting rhetoric, or it's defending those being attacked, such as the various Black women who were disparaged and denigrated by asshole "Men's Rights Activists" on Twitter.

I think SiriusXM realized that this was going to be a thing, and decided to preempt that by firing him and being done with it.

I don't think they should have fired him though, although as I said they had the right to do so.  I think that as disgusting and distasteful as that type of thing is, I don't think that everyone needs to be on the same page as far as what is "Acceptable".   I despise the Duck Dynasty people, and disagree vehemently with what they stand for, but you know what?  They should not be forced off the air.  Let them air what they want, and that way people see them for who they are.   Call them out on their bullshit, but let them speak.

Anthony should not have been fired because being an asshole should not be enough to lose your job, no matter what despicable things he said.  Especially since it didn't happen on the job, it was his own twitter account.

As the saying goes, I disagree with what you say, but defend your right to say it.   I just won't agree with your words or think they are in any way, shape or form acceptable.

But you have to be willing to accept the consequences for what you say.


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UPDATE: JULY 5th 2014:  

It appears Anthony Cumia has gone and deleted virtually every tweet that he's sent in his short history on Twitter.  When you view his account now, it only has two tweets, both from Martin Luther King Jr. day in which he speaks about how Blacks should not get a "govt. handout" but work for a living.  That's not intentional at all, no.

Original post below.

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Okay so since I can sense that there may be an outpouring of comments heading in my direction over my previous tweets in relation to Anthony Cumia (of Opie & Anthony fame) and his fairly shocking and racist tweets (in my opinion, and that of many others) I felt I would simply write up this piece, and then anyone that feels like taking issue with something I tweeted earlier, I will simply point them in the direction of THIS, and hopefully that will satisfy them.

Yeah, I know, I know, and I expect the Sun is made of Cotton Candy.

So as many people know Anthony wrote some insanely racist shit on twitter the other day. Now whether you think he was in the right in being upset at what allegedly happened, that he was attacked randomly by an African American woman who walked into the frame as he was taking photos in Time Square, and he refused to fight back (the gentleman that he is), that's debatable.

You can defend him on his right to take issue with what happened, providing what happened was as he described it. I'm not 100% certain I believe what he says, but I am entirely ready to be proven wrong in that situation. However, I think most people would recognize that if they were just randomly attacked on the street by someone, regardless of the race or gender of said person, then someone would be rightly expected to be upset at that.


MORE AFTER THE BREAK:



Where I think that the train goes off the tracks here is in HOW he took issue. He didn't simply react like "What the fuck? This crazy woman just attacked me in Times Square, and I didn't do shit. I was taking a picture and she walked into the frame, and before I could apologize she just went off on me."

That would have been fine. Even if he had gone the extra step and called her a bitch, or EVEN going and putting some extra mustard on it and dropped the C-word, even THEN I think a lot of people might have been like "well...you might not wanna use some of those words, but I can feel ya."

Where he loses credibility and becomes indefensible, in my opinion, is when he just goes OD with the racist rhetoric. And this isn't simply a case of him using the N word, which shockingly to me he didn't use. That almost makes me think this was a premeditated situation that backfired on him (since he got fired by Sirius XM -- more on that later).

As angry as he seemed, and the vicious rhetoric that he used, it makes me think he's not the kind of person that has qualms about dropping an N bomb or two with that hard "ER" on the end, if ya know what I mean.

So it was odd that he went to such lengths as to avoid using that word, while simultaneously making references to "Savages" and "Animal" and "Pig" and "Dog" and of course the old standby "Cunt", referenced the "animal" and "Savage" nature of the Black community, and seemed to paint present day Times Square like it was an old 70's Exploitation film where any minute some saintly White couple might get knifed by some savage Black dude who was of course a pimp. Because of course he was.

The weird thing is that usually someone would realize they fucked up here. They'd wake up the next day with a hangover and be like "oh shit, what did I write?" and they'd feel something about it, you know? Instead so many of his supporters, as well as Anthony himself, seems to not even remotely understand why those words were repulsive and reprehensible.




That there is a whole history in this country of painting African Americans as "Savages" and unable to control their "Animalistic" nature, whether physically in the sense of committing violence against Whites as well as "Their own kind" or sexually, in the old "preying on White women" trope.

They don't get it. They're stuck on this outrage over his being fired by SiriusXM and are screaming at the top of their lungs (or ...the equivalent on twitter with a keyboard. All caps, perhaps?) about how this is a violation of Cumia's 1st amendment rights, and that free speech has been violated.

A number of people have posted up cancellation screenshots showing they are fedup with SiriusXM and are cancelling their subscription all because one guy was fired for making abhorrently racist remarks that are so far beyond the pale that there's very little that could have been said that was worse.

And there is where we get to the point of this whole thing I'm writing. For the love of everything Holy, people, this is not a first amendment issue. No one is locking him up. No police are showing up at his door and saying "alright buddy, you said some hurtful things online, we're gonna take you downtown, bub."

He got fired. From a company that employed him. That's allowed, you know. He has the free speech rights to say the most viciously racist bullshit he can think of. And you know what? Everyone ELSE has the free speech rights to tell him he's a viciously racist asshole that should go get fucked.

His employer has the right to say "Wow, this guy's making us look bad, and now we're gonna have to deal with boycotts and the backlash that comes with employing a vicious misogynistic racist prick." and then make the decision to fire him.

That's how life works, folks. You may not like it when you're on the wrong end of it, but it's that way for most people in life.

Now it's around this point, after reading that last bit, that so many of these mouth breathing knuckledraggers are pounding on their keyboard typing a response (not reading the rest of this) about "But...But...But...AL SHARPTON!!!! AL SHARPTON IS RACIST AND MSNBC DEFENDS HIM! WHERE IS YOUR OUTRAGE FOR AL SHARPTON'S RACISM??? WHY ARE YOU DEFENDING AL SHARPTON!?!?!?

Um. I'm not. I never have. You go through my blog archive (Blogchive?) and you won't find shit of me defending him. I don't think about Al Sharpton. I sure as shit am not going to defend a lot of the stuff he has said over the years which are clearly over the line. Although I may agree with his overall concerns on the issues at the time, I definitely don't agree with the rhetoric he has used. I find a lot of that problematic.

That said, he's done a lot of good in this country, but sadly that's clouded by a lot of the nonsense. That, however, does not excuse Cumia from what he said. And jumping on one of the most prominent African American in the media to make your point that this White dude saying racist shit isn't really racist, because that Black dude said some shit....yeah, that's not helping your cause any. Just saying.

Nothing makes rational people tune your argument out quicker than trying to insinuate that White people are persecuted and Black people get away with everything, and have it so easy in this country. Enough with the bullshit, people.

If your main defense, aside from the aforementioned bullshit about 1st amendment rights being violated, is to say "Hey, why are you upset at his calling Black people savages and animals and cunts and whores and all this, when that Black dude over there said some shit! And I didn't hear you criticize him, even though...I... haven't been following you for more than a few minutes now....DENOUNCE HIM NOW TO MY SATISFACTION!"

Yeah, no. You don't dictate shit to me when you defend racist hate speech like Cumia spewed forth.

So calm down people. No one's free speech rights were violated. He said what he wanted to say, no one stopped him. No one deleted his tweets, no one locked him up and deprived him of his freedom. His employer decided to exercise their rights to terminate his employment.

That's it, that's all folks. Stop trying to make this guy into a martyr.

6 comments:

  1. I'm black and I have to say I support Anthony Cumia, and I think you should pay more attention to why people have a problem with him being fired.

    People do get fired every single day, many of those people who get fired are good people, not racist and in fact might even be very productive, but they get fired anyways, because their bosses don't care, or they have different plans for the organization. No one likes that, especially when it hits close to home. We all truly do believe if someone does a good job, and excels in their position, unless they've done serious harm or committed a vicious crime that they should be fired from their jobs.

    Anthony Cumia went on a racist rant and publicized it on twitter. He got fired because of that racist rant, by his organization. That's fine and well understood, however, it doesn't take away the fact that he is by and large, productive and good at what he does. In fact, I'm sure a lot of people, including black people subscribe to the radio show and listened to a self-declared racist rant from time to time, because he was good at his job. Not to mention that had it not been for the Opie and Anthony show, Patrice Oneal would have never gotten any recognition whatsoever.

    Ultimately, this is an implication that freedom is indeed dying in this country. Not because the government had anything to do with taking his job away, but because like most laws, they only exist for enforcement, after an individual or people have refused to take the initiative to do so. Just like laws against stealing don't prevent theft, it's supposed to be a principle that people just independently embrace, the same goes for freedom of speech. People are supposed to embrace it on principle, and on principle Anthony Cumia shouldn't have been fired. And him getting fired, doesn't bring benefit to anyone, and in fact screws millions of his fans, but who cares about them anyways?

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  2. Thanks for your comment. And thank you for being polite and civil when discussing this. As long as people are respectful and don't drop racist/sexist/homophobic/personal attacks while doing so, people can disagree with me all they want on here, and I'll freely discuss the differences we have with each other.

    My point in what I wrote is that this is not a "Freedom of Speech" issue, sir (or ma'am). Freedom of Speech is something that a lot of people seem to be misunderstood about what it is and does. Sarah Palin screamed that she was being denied her free speech when people criticized her for things she said. When the Duck Dynasty patriarch went in on his comments on African Americans and the LGBT community, and was suspended, supporters screamed that his free speech was being denied.

    That's simply not true.

    Free Speech does not mean you can say anything you want, and no one can say anything in response. It doesn't mean you have carte blanche to just say anything that you care to, with no regard to how it affects other people. It means that the government cannot arrest you for it. It protects US from the Government, it doesn't protect the government (politicians) from us criticizing them. It doesn't stop the people from protesting (another constitutional right, I might add) those people who say despicable things that we are offended by.

    I think that there are people who simply get offended by everything and anytime someone says something even mildly controversial, they get all uptight, however I don't think this is one of those instances.

    I would like to ask you, as a Black person, it didn't bother you that he not only attacked the woman but he attacked the entire race of that woman in a historically vicious manner? That he referred to Black people as animals and savages? He wasn't simply referring to that woman individually (not that it would have been okay then) but he was generalizing about an entire race of people. Your race of people.

    I find that highly problematic.

    As for him being fired, his employers have the right to terminate him for bringing negative attention on to them. That does not violate free speech at all. He is free to say what he wants, and they are free to fire him for saying it. Free Speech is not a catch all that allows you to say whatever you want, consequence free.

    Thank you again, for your comment.

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  3. Thanks for your response, and yes I am a sir.

    Freedom of speech, is indeed a right that is protected by the constitution. And you're right, this is not an issue where the government needs to protect anyone. You're also correct that many people take such rights out of context. But you also remember that all rights are based on principles. For example laws against robbery, are built on the principle that one is entitled to their own property, and that for one to steal, seize or take somebody else property is a violation of that principle. The principle in which Freedom of Speech is based on, is that debate and dissent are healthy in a democratic society. Ultimately that's what's not being applied her.

    When you criticize someone, you look at what they've produced or done, and you point out the flaws in their points. This is not what's going on here, mostly because there's nothing to criticize. He was taking trash and he was ranting, something that white folks do on n*ggermania and stormfront everyday and get no recognition, because they get little coverage from the media, and they are somehow less responsible, because they don't have millions of followers, and are thus inferior in societal value to the likes of the Anthony Cumia's of the world.

    As a a black person, I and most of us are well aware that racism exists, unlike many black people I don't think racist attitudes or hatred will ever go away (racial bonds are much weaker than tribal bonds, and those only disappear due to genocide, as China has shown), black people's primary concern about race has always been institutional. It's been the preferred method of liberals and democratic politicians to go after racist language, since they've shown a total lack of desire or political capability to deal with the prevalence of institutional racism since the 70's. I've always known Anthony Cumia was racist, my favorite black comedian, used to have intense conversations and debates about racism all the time. It's not about the words, it's the actions that count in the grand scheme of things, and it's the actions that change things, not words.





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  4. Your points are all well taken, and I'm not going to dispute the vast majority of what you are saying, because you can't really.

    Where I would take issue is the idea that words don't matter, and that only actions matter. Words definitely matter. If words did not matter, there would be many people out of a job immediately who make a living parsing words, manipulating words, putting words together to describe things, to make people feel something. Whether that is someone on the right, such as Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or Alex Jones, or those on the left such as The Young Turks, Sam Seder, Rachel Maddow, and so on.

    I think that people need to be aware of their words, because words have a way of inciting actions. And history has shown that. And I think the words he used were SO over the top vicious and they went far beyond simply being upset at someone, that Cumia took them in a direction in which he wanted to inflict as much damage as possible onto not only her but her race.

    He said "They're not people", that they're "savages", and the list goes on.

    I simply disagree that words don't matter, and people are and have been for a long time, held responsible for their words.

    Now SHOULD he have been fired? That's a debate to have, and I don't know that there's any right or wrong answer to that.

    The ultimate thing though is that SiriusXM absolutely 100% had the right to fire him. And that doesn't violate his rights in the slightest, because that's the way employment contracts go for the most part. There may be varying languages in the contracts, compensation, severence packages, non-compete/no trade clauses (in sports), etc, but for the most part if either side wants to bail, the lawyers can find a way to make it so.

    On the flipside though, fans of Anthony Cumia absolutely 100% have the right to let SiriusXM know that they aren't pleased and that they're gonna vote with their money by cancelling their subscription, which there are definitely some who are doing that.

    I think it'll be interesting to see how SiriusXM responds to this, and perhaps more interestingly how Anthony's long time partner Greg Hughes is going to respond. I imagine what they will do is go online only and basically do a podcast. They could RAKE in the money that way, and really have no sponsorships, 100% funded by the fans.

    That way they would be beholden to nobody, nobody could fire them for anything they say. It'll take some money but I'm sure they have that, and no shortage of fans who will support them.

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  5. Well, lets not talk like PR agents, trying to evaluate and analyze what he said or what he was trying to do lol. That's kind of my whole point about this words thing, we're expecting everyone of us to talk and act literally like politicians who have to watch every word they say, but we think that we're somehow going to avoid the consequence of that which is dishonesty and corruption? As you kind of indirectly implied, such a policy is driven primarily by fear, not by freedom, tolerance or an embracing of dissent.

    For the record, I'm a big picture kind of guy, and I primarily wonder what effect this will have on us all in the long run. Anthony was a shock jock, not only that, he was well known and open about his racism, which ironically many black people used to call into his show and laugh in his face at it, especially in regards to the election of Obama (it's funny but black folks have never, even now, massively protested against Opie and Anthony, mostly because they ain't the people oppressing black people) . When Tracy Morgan joked about killing his son if he found out he was gay, he literally had to beg all over the place for his career, here was a guy who was known for being totally outrageous through out his entire career even sometimes exposing himself during stand-up performances to ladies in the audience. What's happening, and ironically Patrice Oneal RIP said it on the Opie and Anthony show, was that eventually the only way you're going to be able to share a profound opinion (this includes social media), is if you're an elite person, who has been educated in all the ways you can speak without offending people, since context has become completely irrelevant and divorced from language in our media. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHZ4MAaMhwc

    I don't know if I'm prepared to live in a world, where everyone acts like they have a PR agent, and is filled with a whole bunch of people trying to speak like congressmen and congresswomen. I don't know about you.



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  6. Fair enough.

    As I said I do agree that there are those out there who are looking to be offended and then get outraged over it. Social Media has simply catapulted that through the stratosphere.

    I tend to give comedians a lot of leeway when it comes to trying to be funny. Comedy isn't easy and sometimes you have to fail in order to find out where that comedy line is, you know? So I tend to not get too worked up over comedians trying to make jokes, even when it's about sensitive subjects. Often that can be the most amazing and groundbreaking comedy.

    When Richard Pryor and Chevy Chase did that classic job interview sketch on SNL, that was groundbreaking and shocking, but it wasn't gratuitous, if that makes sense. It wasn't someone trying to just shock to shock.

    Back to Anthony, if this was part of a sketch he was doing, or some part of his show where there was greater context and he was playing some role or whatever, it'd still be MASSIVELY offensive, but at least he could reasonably fall back to "hey, this is serving a greater point that we're trying to make about racism and how people take offense to things, and whatnot".

    I don't know if I'd BUY it, but you could at least struggle to make that connection, right? This was OUTSIDE of that. It wasn't a comedy bit, that we know of, it was just him exposing himself for everyone to see.

    Also I think it has a big amount to do with him doing this where everyone can see, rather than on his show where people have come to expect it. He's not on terrestrial radio anymore, so no one is gonna randomly tune in to O&A and be like "Wait, what the hell is THIS on the radio for?!!?!" If you're listening to O&A on Sirius, chances are you know what you're gonna expect. So the bar for being reported for offensiveness is pretty high I would imagine.

    That's why I think that it's just now bringing all this attention. He did this on twitter where everyone can see it.

    Also, one last point, take a look at the 1st picture he posted saying "this is the picture that got her upset". She's already facing him coming towards him pissed off. That doesn't look like a picture in which she's just accidentally walking into frame and THEN gets upset. He said that was the 1st picture that he took in which all this got going.

    That makes me question his story, I think, and I think would go a long way towards how people view this. I mean people already are either for or against him (probably the lines are the same as they were before this started to be honest), but if it comes out that he's bullshitting about how this started, that might put him in worse light, if possible.

    Or maybe I'm overanalyzing it. lol

    BTW: feel free to follow me on twitter. I enjoy discussing things with people, even if I disagree, as long as they're respectful about it and grown up. Sadly too many are not.

    I'm @QuoVadimus2012, although I guess you know that if you found this through twitter. lol

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Feel free to leave a comment below. Any racist, homophobic or otherwise discriminatory type comments will be deleted. If it gets bad, I'll just turn on comment moderation again. You don't have to agree with my views, but as this is my blog, I will demand that you be respectful while disagreeing.