Jesse Jackson never misses an opportunity to play the race card, so it's no surprise that Jackson has waded into the Phil Robertson controversy. Unless you've been under a rock or in a coma you have likely heard that Robertson, the star of A&E's hit reality series, "Duck Dynasty," was suspended indefinitely by the network after comments he made about homosexuality and his experiences growing up with blacks in pre-civil-rights-era Louisiana during an interview with "GQ Magazine" last week.
According to the "Chicago Tribune," Jackson has compared Robertson's comments to those made by the driver of Rosa Park's bus.
"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 press release. “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.’”
The "Tribune" is reporting that Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition has demanded meetings with executives of A&E and Cracker Barrel regarding the two companies’ treatment of Robertson, the patriarch of the family featured on "Duck Dynasty."
Jackson's group has joined forces with GLAAD and the National Orgaization for Women in pressuring A&E to make Robertson's suspension permanent. Cracker Barrel entered the fray last week after it pulled "Duck Dynasty" merchandise from its shelves, only to begin selling it again after numerous customer complaints.
Leaders of the groups issued a joint press release in which they said,“It is unacceptable that a personality who has been given such a large platform would benefit from racist and anti-gay comments.”
Cracker Barrel explained its decision in a press release which reads in part, "We respect all individuals’ right to express their beliefs. We certainly did not mean to have anyone think different."
Jackson is really in no position to claim moral superiority in this situation, or any other for that matter. He is a known shakedown artist who uses controversial situations to extort money from corporations that his Rainbow PUSH group uses to finance an agenda of racial division, and to pay hush money to cover up Jackson's own moral failings.
It was revealed in 2001 that Jackson was the father of a "love child" born to a former staffer, Karen Stafford, in May of 1999. According to media reports at the time, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition paid Stanford $15,000 in moving expenses and $21,000 in payment for contracting work. An additional advance of $40,000 for contract work to be performed at a later date was withdrawn after news of the affair became public. Jackson was paying Stafford $4,000 a month in child support as of 2001, but according to some media reports he is now more than $11,000 behind on those payments.
Edited Friday, Dec. 26 5:05 p.m.