If the contracts the stars of Duck Dynasty have with A&E are anything like the typical contract between such parties in such affairs, A&E holds all the cards and calls all the shots. All of them. The Robertsons probably have almost zero input as to the future of the show and can probably be sued for breach of contract if they decide to not contribute to it. A&E probably has a full season of shows completed (with Phil in them) and will probably air them all first before making any more decisions. If Duck Dynasty appears on another network, it will be an A&E decision to do so, and they will still cash the largest checks related to the show.
It would be easier to argue in a courtroom that Phil Robertson engaged in hate speech than had his First Amendment rights violated.
It’s doubtful Phil was an actual employee of A&E, he was probably engaged in business with them with a private contract, and it’s very possible, for tax purposes, he made his services available to A&E via a private company he owns, rather than as an individual. So even if you could make the argument A&E violated his rights, wrongful termination would not apply in this case. A&E needs to clarify what it meant by “indefinitely suspended”, as it seems it was never in a position to suspend him (in the typical employment definition assumed in such a context) in the first place.
Hmm, wait, actually the show Duck Dynasty is probably produced and owned by another production company and sold to A&E, so Phil’s contracts are probably with that company and not A&E at all!!!!
Ok, I just Googled it, Gurney Productions produces Duck Dynasty and sells it to A&E which then sells ad space during its broadcast of the show. Scott Gurney, the creator and producer of Duck Dynasty stared in the lead role in the movie “The Fluffer” about gay porn.
I’d post all the relevant links, but it would get a bit nuts here, so just Google it all yourself!