The Rev. Jesse Jackson says that despite A&E Network's decision to end the suspension of Phil Robertson for his insensitive remarks about gays and African Americans, the "Duck Dynasty" star needs to be "more repentant and contrite."
"Mr. Robertson's language was hurtful and painful to many people … [and] he's been unrepentant," Jackson told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"When people make mistakes, and people do make mistakes, you should be repentant and contrite and then seek forgiveness."
A&E reinstated Robertson on Friday and will start filming new episodes of the hit reality series in in a few months.
Last week, it suspended him from the show, which showcases a Louisiana family that made its fortune with products for duck hunters, after a controversial interview he gave to GQ magazine.
Among other things, he said: "Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong... start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Beastiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and those men."
Robertson also said he had picked cotton with African Americans as a youth in Louisiana and never saw “the mistreatment of any black person” — noting that they were “singing and happy” and that they did not complain about white people.
Earlier this week, Jackson caused an uproar when he attacked the comments made about African Americans by Robertson — contrasting them with what Rosa Parks faced on an Alabama bus in 1955.
"At least the bus driver who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person was following state law," Jackson said. "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.'"
Parks refused to obey the driver of a bus in Montgomery on Dec. 1, 1955, and give up her seat on a segregated bus to a white person. The incident led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a watershed event in the civil rights movement.
Jackson told Malzberg on Friday:
"The fact is Rosa Parks was not happy and was arrested. Dr. [Martin Luther] King was not happy and was bombed and stabbed … When I went to jail at 19 I was not happy, trying to use a public library….
"I hope that [Robertson] will work diligently to make it clear to people that he did not and does not embrace these views. These views are not acceptable and they are not true....
"He talked about how happy blacks were [during] segregation, how the civil rights movement interfered with their happiness."
A&E says it will use the Robertson flap to launch national public service campaign promoting unity, tolerance, and acceptance among all people and consulted with numerous advocacy groups before lifting the suspension.
"We've talked with them, but we were not at all conclusive and many of the groups that [feel] offended by what has been said will continuously [express] their disgust and express their pain," Jackson said.
"I would like to think that Mr. Robertson ought to be more repentant and contrite as he seeks to convince people these statements are not his own.
"Because the period of racial segregation, legally, was so painful and so oppressive and so dangerous and so violent and so hurtful – so many people denied their basic American rights … I hope he'll learn from the reaction of people."
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