Jesse Jackson has just inserted what might be the most outrageous reaction to Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s comments about gays and African-Americans. The reality star was accused of racism and homophobia after his statements in an interview last week with GQ magazine, prompting A&E to suspend Robertson indefinitely from the family show. But Jackson recently declared Robertson’s statements were not only racist, but that the Duck Dynasty star was “more offensive” than Rosa Parks’ bus driver.
In the GQ interview, Robertson said that he never experienced African-Americans being mistreated during the Jim Crow days. “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!” he said. “Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
In response, Jackson said the comments amounted to gross “white privilege” and were more offensive than the actions of Rosa Parks’ bus driver. These statements uttered by Robertson are more offensive than the bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama, more than 59 years ago,” said Jackson in a statement to 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.”
Jackson is now requesting meetings with both A&E and restaurant chain Cracker Barrel to discuss their relationship with the show moving forward. Cracker Barrel initially decided to pull all Duck Dynasty merchandise from their stores, but retracted their actions and issued an apology just 24 hours later after being flooded with angry e-mails, phone calls and tweets from customers who felt Robertson’s First Amendment rights were being violated.
Meanwhile, Robertson’s family continues to stand by him and have threatened to quit the show unless he returns. “While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible. Phil would never incite or encourage hate,” read a statement from his family on the Duck Commander website. “We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right. We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty.”