A&E has already suspended Robertson, but Reverend Jackson, his Rainbow PUSH Coalition and GLAAD are demanding to meet with network execs, along with Cracker Barrel’s CEO, to discuss the future of all “Duck Dynasty” memorabilia or content.
“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 obtained by 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.’”
The release, dated Dec. 23, requests a meeting within 72 hours with A&E and Cracker Barrel execs and urges the network to uphold Robertson’s suspension.
The once-relevant adulterous cleric Jackson is still trying to prove he can shake the money tree. Don’t be surprised if A&E makes a substantial donation to Rainbow PUSH in the near future. Chicago Sun-Times columnist John Kass has for years called Jackson the “King of Beers” over his role in intimidating Anheuser-Busch into arranging for his sons to get a valuable Budweiser distributorship in Chicago. From a 2001 column:
Jackson has been King of Beers in this column for months now, in honor of the exclusive Budweiser distributorship owned by two of his sons–Yusef and Jonathan–which was also described in an extremely timely account in the Sun-Times over the weekend.
The issue is excruciatingly simple:
The King of Beers used Operation PUSH to launch a national boycott of Anheuser-Busch in the early 1980s.
He wanted African-Americans to get a cut of the business.
And although Anheuser-Busch was among the corporate leaders in donations to the United Negro College Fund and had a progressive employment policy–18 percent of the workforce was minority–Jackson wasn’t satisfied.
To punctuate his anti-Bud sentiments, Jackson would pour beer on the ground and say, “Bud is a dud” and offer other pithy rhymes. Once, he showed up at an Anheuser-Busch distributorship and cheered as 50 South Siders poured four cases of beer onto the ground.
“August Busch has become to the economic reciprocity movement what Bull Connor and Jim Clark were to the civil and political reciprocity movement–an obstruction in the doorway blocking black economic progress,” Jackson said back then, comparing Busch to white Southern sheriffs who sicced police dogs and cops on civil-rights marchers.
Jesse Jackson is a corrupt clown, but it’s amazing how well that de facto extortion routine has worked for him over the years. His m.o. has been to identify businesses who are vulnerable to racism charges, and if they won’t play ball, to hit them with outlandish and inflammatory accusations. Back in 2001, I wrote repeatedly about Jackson’s racket for the New York Post. For example:
From sea to shining sea, only T.J. Rodgers, CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, has had the courage to stand up to Jackson.
When Jackson came calling, hat in hand, Rodgers rebuffed him, saying Silicon Valley had nothing to be ashamed of regarding its diverse work force.
The response? A Jackson ally told the press, “We can now officially describe Cypress Semiconductor as a white-supremacist hate group.”
Got it? Cross Jesse Jackson, and find your company likened to the Ku Klux Klan. No wonder so many CEOs are scared.
“I don’t care if he screwed somebody. I care about whether or not he’s running a scam for his own benefit,” Rodgers told me.
Actually, Jackson is so discredited that the A&E network might feel brave enough to brush him off. GLAAD is the new Rainbow PUSH when it comes to outrage and intimidation. But all GLAAD’s pique and A&E’s pusillanimity have not hurt the Robertsons, whose merchandise sales have risen since the whole thing started. Good. A&E has been running Duck Dynasty repeats constantly over the past few days (I know this because my kids are watching them). I am sure that A&E would never profit from what it sees as bigotry, and will therefore donate ad revenues from the holiday Duck Dynasty marathon, and any cut of merchandising after its suspension of Phil Robertson, to GLAAD. Maybe it will even buy GLAAD a Budweiser distributorship.
In a more serious vein, Jackson’s sticking his nose into the controversy makes the prospect for a happy ending of the race part of the mess more remote. The way a lot of people see it, if Jesse Jackson is against something, that’s a point in its favor. The thing is, Phil Robertson was wrong about the way black people were treated back in the 1950s. I don’t doubt that he genuinely remembers it that way, because a lot of white people of his generation are like that. If they remember blacks as being happy and uncomplaining, they should reflect on what would have happened to blacks — and did happen to blacks — who were unhappy with the status quo and complained about it.
For a conservative Protestant like Phil Robertson, the question of homosexuality is one of theological and moral conviction — and he’s not going to move off his position. But the race portion of this controversy is a matter of history and memory. My guess is that Robertson is a good man who is simply wrong in what he remembers, based on the social climate and culture of the era. I would not be surprised if over this past week some fellow black Christians have gone to him privately to talk to him about this. Nor would I be surprised if Phil were to publicly disavow his earlier remarks about race and history. I hope so on both counts. But the unasked-for presence of Jesse Jackson in this situation likely makes everybody more inclined to dig in.