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Jesse Jackson: Phil Robertson More Offensive Than Rosa Parks' Bus Driver

Jackson and Robertson

The Reverend Jesse Jackson has weighed in on the never-ending Duck Dynasty controversy, and true to form the reverend pulled no punches. Said Jackson:

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.’

Jackson, his Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and GLAAD are wanting to meet with A&E and Cracker Barrel execs to discuss Robertson's continued suspension as well as the future of Duck Dynasty merchandise and future content of the show, saying that it's not right for someone with such toxic views to benefit from the substantial public platform that they have been given.


Jesse Jackson Hopes Maryland Voters Approve Marriage Equality

JacksonmarriageVenerable civil rights leader Jesse Jackson told Michelangelo Signorile in an interview last week that he'd like to see Maryland voters approve marriage equality there.

Comparing the vote to 60s-era votes on racial civil rights, Jackson told the Sirius XM radio host, "I remember in 1964, the dealbreaker then was, 'Should we have the right of public accommodation [for blacks]?' They tried to make blacks having public accommodations a single issue. At that time race was the dealbreaker. But we’ve overcome that. I would hope that people would respect people’s basic fundamental rights. If you don’t believe in it, don’t engage in it. But don’t deny other people their basic civil rights."

With regard to marriage equality as a concept, rather than as a vote in Maryland, Jackson said that our culture has expanded its understanding of love, and that our laws need to follow suit.

The culture has had to expand… For so long we thought it was a sin for blacks to have freedom. We thought it was a sin for black and white men and women to interrelate. We’ve grown in our appreciation of the fact that we live in our faith, and our faith may live under the law. All citizens deserve constitutional protections. You know, you have a right not to agree with interracial marriage but no one should be denied rights under the law.

An August poll of Maryland voters shows support for equality ahead by about 14 points: 54 for the law with 40 against, according to Hart Research Associates. A survey from March had 51 in favor and 43 against.


Jesse Jackson, PUSH, Deny Claims in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Rev. Jesse Jackson and the PUSH Rainbow Coalition have denied sexual harassment claims made by former staffer Tommy Bennett (pictured)in a lawsuit filed last week:

Bennett Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rainbow PUSH filed a joint response with the commission and issued a statement saying its leaders “unequivocally deny Tommy Bennett’s false claims of harassment, retaliation and discrimination.”

“The organization does not condone or tolerate discrimination in any form,” the statement says. “His inflammatory allegations are an attempt to malign Rev. Jackson and the organization, and are hurtful and harmful to the progressive community. We are fully cooperating with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations and expect to be fully exonerated.”

The Chicago Commission on Human Relations could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Bennett claims that he was mocked for his sexual orientation and asked to perform sexually demeaning tasks which included rubbing lotion on Jackson's legs for a rash.


Former Staffer Files Anti-Gay Sexual Harassment Complaint Against Jesse Jackson and Rainbow PUSH Coalition

A former staffer for Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition has sued Rev. Jesse Jackson, claiming a broad array of anti-gay harassment charges, the Windy City Times reports:

Bennett In a document filled with stunning allegations, Tommy R. Bennett has filed a complaint with the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations against the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., and the minister's Chicago-based organization, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, claiming, among other things, harassment and termination on the basis of Bennett's sexual orientation.

The charges against Jackson are graphic, to say the least:

Things allegedly took a more disturbing turn after Bennett also took over the duties of Jackson's travel assistant where Bennett says he was required to perform "humiliating" tasks. According to the complaint, in May 2008 Bennett was not allowed to accompany Jackson to Tanzania because Jackson was allegedly unhappy with the ways Bennett packed his items.

Bennett also claims that he had to escort women to Jackson's room and "clean up his room after sexual intercourse with women. Mr. Bennett believes he was forced to do these tasks due to his sexual orientation," adding that he had to escort women to such places as the Sheraton Hotel in New York and the Wynn Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas. Bennett claims that he let Jackson know that he "was uncomfortable cleaning up his hotel rooms, escorting women to his hotel room, being summoned to his hotel room after hours or packing his clothes."

Other charges included having to apply cream to Jackson's legs for a rash, a task which Bennett refused, and suggestions intimating Jackson wanted sexual favors:

"Rev. Jackson stated that he played football and there was a gay high school teacher who took Rev. Jackson under his wings and told him that he needed education to go along with football. Rev. Jackson said, '[F]rom that gay teacher, I got a good grade, I got to use his car, I got ten dollars and I got my dick sucked.' Rev. Jackson said, '[T]hat's not gay, that is surviving.'" Bennett alleges this meant Rev. Jackson wanted sex, but that Bennett then left the room.

Bennett's demands?

In a demand letter accompanying the complaint, Bennett said he wanted, among other things, $98,300 for back pay, front pay and loss of benefits; $350,000 for emotional distress and punitive damages; and an amendment of Rainbow PUSH's non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Much more at the Windy City Times...


Towleroad Guide to the Tube #556

MISTAKEN IDENTITY: Contessa Brewer mistakes Jesse Jackson for Al Sharpton.

KIM ZOLCIAK: The Halloween costume kit.

WHAT IS THE LAUGH?: And Fox wonders why the White House doesn't consider it a real news channel.

VACCINATIONS: Don Imus' wife suggests the Obama daughters should get the H1N1 vaccination on live TV.

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.


Towleroad Guide to the Tube #345
DNC Highlights Monday Night

Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr, Michelle Obama, Caroline and Senator Edward Kennedy.


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