Jesse Jackson Calls 'Duck Dynasty's' Phil Robertson 'More Offensive' Than Rosa Parks' Bus Driver
The civil-rights activist and religious leader also wants to meet with A&E and Cracker Barrel about the future of content and memorabilia associated with the show following the star's controversial comments about gays and African-Americans.
Jesse Jackson is the latest public figure to weigh in on Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson's controversial comments about gays and blacks.
Although Robertson has arguably garnered the most attention for his anti-gay remarks, he also told GQ that he never saw any mistreatment of black people while growing up in pre-civil-rights-era Louisiana.
"I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once," Robertson told the magazine. "Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I'm with the blacks, because we're white trash. We're going across the field. … They're singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, 'I tell you what: These doggone white people' — not a word! … Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues."
Jackson says that Robertson's comments are "more offensive" than the bus driver who demanded Rosa Parks give up her seat for a white person.
"These statements uttered by Robertson are more offensive than the bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama, more than 59 years ago," Jackson says in a statement obtained by ABC News. "At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law. Robertson's statements were uttered freely and openly without cover of the law, within a context of what he seemed to believe was 'white privilege.' "
A&E placed Robertson on indefinite suspension shortly after his remarks, published in the magazine's January issue, debuted online. But Jackson, his Rainbow PUSH Coalition and GLAAD, which condemned Robertson's remarks and commended A&E for its swift action against the Duck Dynasty star, want to meet with network executives about the future of the show, according to ABC News. They also want to meet with the CEO of Cracker Barrel, which pulled all Duck Dynasty memorabilia last Friday before backtracking two days later.
Jackson and GLAAD say they believe it's not right for someone with such a large platform to benefit from such comments, urging A&E to uphold his suspension.
Robertson has since defended his comments, saying he "will not give or back off from my path" and his family has said they cannot imagine the show going forward without their patriarch.