Damon Bruce’s Rant and Free Speech
I wrote about it here and you can listen to the audio.
After being told who Damon Bruce actually was, many were offended or at least shocked that he would be so stupid to say these types of inflammatory things on the air. Maybe that was the point. Suffice it to say had he not made those statements, I wouldn’t know who he is and nor would I care.
I didn’t see many defending Bruce, but Rob Neyer on Twitter gave a defense of him because Bruce had been nice to Neyer personally. I really don’t have much interest in what Neyer says about anything and am not sure why there was almost as intense a reaction to Neyer defending Bruce as there was for Bruce saying what he said in the first place. Today, Neyer wrote this post on SB Nation giving his side of the story. Much of it goes into a discussion about how free speech can spur debate no matter which side of the argument you’re on.
What it comes down to isn’t the free speech argument and how Bruce being fired would possibly hinder that. It’s that Bruce’s statements, from a business standpoint, were so offensive that his radio station wouldn’t be firing him because of what he said, but because having him on their airwaves was not good for their business.
The station, KNBR in San Francisco, has reportedly suspended Bruce. This might die down. I’m not sure whether Bruce is a big enough personality that a large audience would have heard what he said had it not been plastered all over the media after the fact.
The idea of free speech is taken too far when it enters the workplace and one seemingly believes that the right makes it okay to say anything no matter how it is interpreted and not be held accountable for it. Had Bruce been a larger media personality who was known throughout the country, it would be easier for the station to compare what he said with the reaction to it, count up the amount of money he brings in via advertising revenue and determine that it’s worth it to keep him around no matter what he says. That has nothing to do with free speech. It’s selective enforcement based on how valuable or expendable an entity is.