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Say it With Me: Freedom of Speech Does Not Apply to Private Businesses

by Todd A. Smith

 

 

 

Free Speech Breakdown 


To paraphrase Savon (Isaiah Washington) from the 1997 classic movie “Love Jones,” let’s break this down so it can forever and consistently be broke.


Free speech, or the First Amendment, applies to the government, not to private businesses.


With a few exceptions, like inciting violence and perjury, the government cannot put a person in jail for expressing their views.


Those same freedoms do not apply to private companies, private organizations, private homes in which an individual pays their own bills, etc., etc.


So to all of those people who believe that they are seeing their freedoms like free speech taken away from them, private companies like social media apps have always had the rights to boot you from their platforms if you do not follow their rules.


Actually, social media apps like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter could have booted President Donald Trump off of their platforms years ago because of his inflammatory comments.


However, out of respect for the office, those social media apps gave President Trump a longer rope than he would have enjoyed if he were a private citizen.


There is an old saying in legal circles that says that your rights end where my rights begin.


Although users of a platform have First Amendment rights, so do the people that own those platforms.


If a company cannot create their own rules and terms of use, the government is in fact taking away their First Amendment rights.


And in the case of a company, which sometimes takes millions of dollars to maintain, the people cutting the checks should have their rights protected more than the people using the platform for free.


In layman’s terms, think about the opinion on a personal level.


If you own a home and someone visits your home using profanity in front of your kids, parents or grandparents, shouldn’t the owner of the home have the right to kick the vulgar person out of their home?


Some people do not use profanity and do not allow it to be used in their home.


People who do not understand the First Amendment might have people believe that the homeowner has to just shut up and take the verbal abuse from their visitor because of freedom of speech.


I once had a barbershop buddy named Plummer who had a framed Michael Vick jersey hanging on his wall during the time in which the former NFL quarterback stood trial on dogfighting charges.


One of his friends brought a stranger to his home and that stranger told Plummer that he did not approve of the Vick jersey hanging on his wall.


Mind you, Plummer owned his home and he had never met this person before in his life.


Yes, that person could tell Plummer he did not approve of the Vick jersey.


But Plummer had the right to kick him out of his house, and he did.


Freedom of speech comes with responsibilities and consequences.


People can say what they want.


However, they have to deal with the consequences that come with being outspoken.


If a person makes my brand look bad, then they will no longer represent my brand.


Period.


They have freedom of speech.


But so do I.


If I do not want certain things representing Regal Media Group, LLC, then I will get rid of people that do not fit my vision.


My writers have freedom of speech.


However, I have the freedom not to publish their work if it does not measure up to Regal’s standards.


Regal does not allow profanity, racial slurs, religious slurs, homophobic slurs, transphobic slurs or any other slur that a person can think of.


My company does not allow nudity.


Anyone who feels that this suppresses their free speech are free to look for employment elsewhere.


That is why people who participated in last week’s insurrection, coup or treasonous attack on American democracy should not be surprised when they lose their jobs, their customers or their standing in the community.


Yes, even all of those business owners who participated in the effort to steal the election from President-elect Joe Biden have a right to support Trump.


But their former customers have a right to support their competition by taking their money elsewhere.


As a result of blindly following Trump and his cult, many cult followers realized way too late that freedom of speech ain’t free.


Some of the same people arguing that social media companies and other companies have infringed on their freedom of speech have said that professional athletes who protest systemic racism and police brutality while at work should get terminated.


What about their freedom of speech?


Would that not violate their rights like social media companies have allegedly done for so many on the political right?


What’s the difference?


The difference is what the person has protested.


Some people seem to only support freedom of speech when a person is speaking from their perspective.


If a person shares their viewpoint, then their freedom of speech should be protected at all costs.


But if a person has a different point of view than them, then they should shut up and dribble or get fired.


What a lot of Trump supporters have found is that what’s good for the goose is always good for the gander.


Everyone in America does have freedom of speech.


But that right comes with consequences.


A person can say what they want for the most part, and the government cannot infringe on that right.


But Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and other companies are not the government and they do not have to respect your free speech.


Say or do something they do not like and get shown the door.


Or should I say, break down the doors of the United States Capitol and watch how fast those same people break down in tears because their own ignorance shattered their entire lives.

This article was published on Friday 15 January, 2021.
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