To Cracker Barrel, "wholesome fixins" like chicken-fried steak and grits go well with Duck Dynasty merchandise, but the return of Duck Dynasty caps, t-shirts, books and mugs to the restaurant stores met with objections by Rainbow PUSH.
Cracker Barrel pulled Duck Dynasty items from its shelves earlier this month after A&E suspended its family patriarch, Phil Robertson, from the show for his anti-homosexual comments to GQ magazine. Robertson, 67, also said he never saw discrimination against blacks as a boy growing up in the South.
But customer backlash prompted Cracker Barrel to return camouflage pants and other Duck Dynasty goods to its shelves. “We listened … And, we apologize for offending you,” reads a company statement posted on its website.
That move, however, gives offense to the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, whose protesters gathered outside the Matteson Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Restaurant on Friday and handed out leaflets to customers. Rainbow PUSH senior adviser Rev. Janette Wilson said the group plans more protests Monday in other outlets that sell Duck Dynasty merchandise.
“As if we enjoyed being disrespected when we had to sit in the back of the bus,” Wilson told Sun-Times Media on Friday. “This is not a laughing matter."
One Homewood woman who bought several items at the Cracker Barrel store turned right around and returned them after listening to the protesters.
“To know better is to do better,” Christine Canada told a reporter.
Also on Friday, A&E announced that Robertson would return to the show. The network said fan and sponsor support influenced the decision to lift Robertson's suspension, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Cracker Barrel has restaurants in Matteson, Tinley Park, Joliet, Romeoville, Naperville and Gurnee.