Jesse Jackson has weighed in the “Duck Dynasty” drama, comparing comments made by the show star Phil Robertson to GQ to those made by the Alabama bus driver who demanded that Rosa Parks give up her seat to a white passenger and had her arrested when she didn’t.
In Robertson’s statements, which got him on indefinite hiatus from the hit A&E reality series, Robertson equaled gay relationships to bestiality and claimed blacks in the South were happy before gains made during the civil rights movement.
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once,” Robertson told GQ. “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.”
“These statements uttered by Robertson are more offensive than the bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama, more than 59 years ago,” Jackson said in a statement released by his Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “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.’”
Jackson and his organization demand a sit-down meeting with A&E, as well as representatives from the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain.
Cracker Barrel initially pulled products featuring Robertson’s image from their shelves, but later recanted their stance after restaurant goers reacted with very vocal displeasure about the decision.