Somehow this shameless shakedown artist managed to wait a week before injecting himself into the Phil Robertson story. He’s slowing down, but still looking to get paid.
Jesse Jackson Sr. has jumped into the controversy surrounding comments by Phil Robertson, star of A&E’s backwoods reality TV show, “Duck Dynasty.”
In an announcement sent out Tuesday, Jackson Sr. compared Robertson’s recent comments about African-Americans, gay people and women to comments made by the driver of Rosa Parks’ bus.
“At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law,” he said in the 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.’”
Jackson’s human rights group, the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, has demanded meetings with A&E and with Cracker Barrel regarding the two companies’ treatment of Robertson, who stars in the show as the head of a Louisiana family that makes duck calls.
If anyone can explain the leap from Robertson’s comments to Rosa Parks, feel free. But it’s strange coming from this hustler considering just two years ago he was accused of harassing and humiliating a gay male staffer. Considering how lurid this story is it’s no wonder the media buried it as fast as the could.
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.
Rev. Jackson has a long record of support for LGBT rights, including during his runs for U.S. president and his speech at the LGBT March on Washington in 1987. This is believed to be the first time an allegation has come forward claiming he was involved in sexual orientation harassment and discrimination.
In the complaint, Bennett—who worked at the Rainbow Coalition from July 11, 2007 through Dec. 23, 2009, as the national director of community affairs—says that his sexual orientation was known throughout the workplace primarily because of his side job: being “Aruba Tommy” on the nationally syndicated radio talk program The Tom Joyner Morning Show.
Bennett claims that he experienced discrimination almost immediately after he started the job, saying that Caroline Wiggins, the membership and volunteer coordinator, complained to Jackson that she did not wish to work with Bennett because he is gay. After Wiggins was allowed to work under the field director, Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston, she allegedly said that she did not have to answer to Bennett. (Wiggins is no longer with the coalition. Windy City Times attempted several times to speak with Livingston about the matter, but had no response.) In the complaint, Bennett says that “no investigation or action was taken in response” to his complaining about Wiggins.
However, the most explosive charges revolve around Jackson himself. First, Bennett claims that at an all-staff meeting in 2008, he requested an LGBT-themed table for the national convention—and was flatly denied. When Bennett questioned why there could not be a table, Jackson allegedly “cursed at Mr. Bennett in front of all of the staff, and Rev. Jackson was visibly upset during the rest of the meeting.”
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.”
Things reached an apex later in 2008, when Bennett says he “was summoned to Rev. Jackson’s hotel room” at the Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel. Bennett claims that he was eventually instructed to apply cream to Jackson, who “had a rash between his legs.” Bennett says that he refused, resulting in Jackson allegedly calling Bennett a “little motherfucker.”
I’m so old I can remember when an obscure PR publicist was summarily destroyed for a joke tweet, and Jackson got away with this? We can’t find if there’s been any resolution to this case, although a settlement offer was reportedly made in 2012. Of course there’s no evidence that was reported by the so-called mainstream media, nor will any of these messy details be reported now that Jackson has injected himself into the latest media obsession. How convenient.
Meanwhile, Jackson today met with his favorite people: Criminals.
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) December 25, 2013