The Rev. Jesse Jackson is joining the fracas surrounding television network A&E and its enormously popular show “Duck Dynasty,” demanding a meeting with executives. Jackson wants to discuss statements made by “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson that he says are more offensive than those made to Rosa Parks and the network’s reaction to them.
Jackson and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition are also calling for a meeting with Cracker Barrel officials. The restaurant chain announced it was pulling some “Duck Dynasty” merchandise from its shelves, but then reversed course after a backlash from customers.
A&E announced it was suspending “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson following comments he made to GQ magazine, but has also announced new episodes that feature Robertson.
“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,” ABC reported.
In a statement, Jackson called Robertson’s comments more offensive than those issued by a bus driver to Civil Rights Era heroine Rosa Parks.
“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’s statement read.
The Robertson family hasn’t said much, although they did issue a statement hinting they’d seek to part ways with A&E if Phil Robertson wasn’t part of the show.
“We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right,” the statement read. “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.”
The AJC reports that on Saturday, family member Jep Robertson made an appearance at a charity 5K in Atlanta. He said little about the matter (or anything else) but did thank fans.
“We’ve had kind of a crazy week back home,” he said at the event. “We’ve gotten a lot of support. We really appreciate it.”