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Jesse Jackson: Phil Robertson's Comments Are "More Offensive" Than Rosa Parks Incident

Dec 26, 2013 12:08 PM ET
by Liz Raftery

Rev. Jesse Jackson, Phil Robertson

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has requested a meeting with A&E brass over Duck Dynasty starPhil Robertson‘s recent comments in GQ, which Jackson says are “more offensive” than the Rosa Parks bus incident.

Robertson has gotten flack from LGBT groups over anti-gay remarks he made in the profile, but Jackson’s issue is with Robertson’s statement that blacks were perfectly happy before the Civil Rights movement. Jackson says the comment is “more offensive” than a bus driver ordering Parks to give up her seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955.

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“At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law,” Jackson said in a statement released Dec. 23, as reported by ABC News. “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.’”

In the statement, Jackson also demanded a meeting with executives from A&E and Cracker Barrel within 72 hours (which would expire on Thursday). Cracker Barrel initially vowed to remove Duck Dynasty merchandise from its stores, but recanted after customer backlash.

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Robertson, 67, told GQ that he had never witnessed racism during his childhood in Louisiana.”I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person,” he said. “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.”

A&E has placed Robertson, who said he’s standing by his comments, on indefinite suspension from Duck Dynasty in the wake of the controversy.

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