Anthony Cumia of radio’s controversial and popular Opie & Anthony show gets a big love letter from fans–and a few people who just like free speech
First Amendment rights should protect Anthony Cumia’s right to say almost any incendiary thing–except “fire” in a movie theater–as long as it’s from his “personal” account. That’s the argument made in a petition signed by nearly 13,000 fans at change.org. The petition draws a distinction that is not always easy to discern with celebrities–saying just where the public life ends and the private life begins: “If SiriusXM had taken offense to remarks he had made on the air, or on a company social media account, that’s their right, but the remarks that led to Mr. Cumia being terminated were a series of tweets accredited to Mr. Cumia’s personal Twitter account.” Anthony was fired from Sirius after what were deemed racially insensitive Tweets. Cumia’s immediate reaction was a mix of bemusement and disdain: “Fired for (expletive) that wasn’t even on the air & wasn’t illegal. So, who’s next?” he wrote–on Twitter of course.
But what is Cumia’s personal Twitter account? If he uses it to communicate with his fans, does that make it part of his business–and therefore public domain? The Cumia firing case is interesting for the precedent it could set on the difference between a personal account and a commercial account in social media–and what privacy and rights belong to each. Anthony Cumia has more than 165,000 followers on Twitter–it’s safe to say it’s not that personal. He’s been removing Tweets fast since the firing, too. “They were being picked apart and used, out of ANY context,” he writes. Donald Sterling must be watching.