Many of the people who vehemently shout about our constitutionally protected right to Freedom of Speech (usually as a reaction to public backlash against shitty behavior) have absolutely no idea what that means. That seems like an ironic little integrity test for those who actually care about the First Amendment, doesn’t it? Le sigh.
Things the First Amendment Doesn’t Protect Against:
- Revealing the identity of a Reddit poster who was internet-famous for posting fetish shots of minors.
- Public backlash against Daniel Tosh’s rape joke
- Individuals encouraging each other not to spend money at a restaurant that supports hateful views
Freedom of speech means that you can say what you want without the government arresting or fining you. Hooray! But it does not mean that people won’t respond to that. That is also freedom of speech.
I absolutely do not understand the mentality that artists can say whatever they want without people getting hurt. You can say what you want. And you can choose whether or not to care if people feel hurt by it. But no where in the artist contract did it say that people don’t get to call you out when they find your work offensive.
Freedom of speech does not protect your right to speak anonymously. And while I support sites like Reddit choosing to allow anonymous posting, it is still a public sphere. If a journalist figures our your identity, too bad so sad. You put your shit out for the world to see. Don’t complain when you receive negative commentary. That is, in fact, the same justification you used to post photos taken of women taken without their permission. This is almost exactly a perfect example of comeuppance.
Boycotts, public backlash, and media criticism are not infringing on your rights. They are actually an awesome example of how free markets can sometimes regulate themselves. Please don’t invoke freedom of speech unless your actual freedom is in jeopardy.