Louisiana’s lieutenant governor may want to see Phil Robertson and his Duck Dynasty family stay in the reality TV business for the sake of his state’s tourism, but one person who wants to halt capitalization on the controversial Robertson is Rev. Jesse Jackson. According to ABC News, which obtained a statement from Jackson dated Dec. 23, he and his Rainbow PUSH Coalition, along with GLAAD, are asking to meet with execs from A&E and Cracker Barrel to discuss Duck Dynasty memorabilia and content. Cracker Barrel had removed select Duck Dynasty merchandise from its shelves Dec. 20 but returned it two days later — and apologized for offending its customers. A&E is being pressured to reverse its decision to suspend Robertson from the show after comments he made in a GQ article expressing his views on homosexuality and pre-Civil-Rights-era Louisiana.
Of that latter, he said: “I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. 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’s response, per that statement obtained by ABC News: “These statements uttered by Robertson are more offensive than the bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama, more than 59 years ago. 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.’”
An email to Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition requesting an update on the proposed meeting has not yet been returned.