10) Terri Schiavo intervention
In 2005 Rev. Jackson surprised many of his progressive supporters when he backed Terri Schiavo’s family’s push to keep their daughter alive in a vegetated state.
(AP Photo/The Oregonian, Michael Lloyd)
9) Undergraduate record
Jackson’s undergraduate education has raised a lot of questions for some skeptics. He has claimed he rejected a pro-baseball opportunity in order to attend the University of Illinois to play football. But he soon transferred from that school to HBCU North Carolina A&T, citing racial bias on Illinois’ football team as the reason. Reps for Illinois argue his accusations are unfounded.
(AP Photo/Bob Jordan)
8) Taliban reportedly reaches out to Jackson after 9/11
In the days following the September 11th terrorist attacks, Jackson said he’d received overtures from the Taliban militia to discuss some kind of peace settlement. Jackson was rebuffed by the White House and ridiculed for urging negotiation.
7) Break with the SCLC
In 1971 tensions between Jackson and then SCLC chairman Ralph Abernathy reached a boiling point. Abernathy suspended Jackson from from the SCLC, citing “administrative improprieties and repeated acts of violation of organizational policy.” Jackson would form his own splinter group, Operation PUSH, which eventually merged to form his current organization — Rainbow PUSH.
6) Obama “acting like he’s white”
In 2007, Jackson publicly rebuked then-candidate Barack Obama for not taking a stronger position in response to the Jena 6 case. Many felt he went too far when he suggested Obama was “acting like he’s white.”
5) Illinois senate seat scandal
In 2009 when an investigation targeting Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. in a pay-for-play scandal involving President Obama’s old Senate seat, Rev. Jackson was suspected of having acted as an emissary on his son’s behalf. Both Jacksons have denied involvement in any impropriety.
4) Aftermath of MLK’s murder
Jackson’s conduct in the moments following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., in April of 1968 has received considerable scrutiny and criticism. Some observers felt he appeared self-serving in interviews (wearing a turtleneck purported with King’s blood on it) and exaggerated his role in the aftermath of the murder.
(Photo by Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images)
3) “I want to cut his n*ts off
An open mic was not Jackson’s friend during the 2008 presidential campaign when he was caught muttering that he’d like to castrate Obama for “talking down to black people.” Despite numerous attempts to walk back his statement, Jackson was left off the DNC convention roster for the first time in decades.
(Image courtesy of Fox News)
2) The Love Child
Jackson’s world was rocked by scandal in 2001, when not only was it revealed that he had engaged in a prolonged extramarital affair, but that it had resulted in a “love child” in 1999. Jackson (pictured with his wife since 1962, Jacqueline Lavinia Brown) withdrew from the spotlight temporarily following the allegations.
(AP Photo/Stephen J. Carrera)
During his 1984 campaign to the presidency, Jackson’s reputation was severely damaged when he used an offensive term for Jews when referring to New York City (he called it “Hymietown”. Despite repeated apologies, many Americans were turned off and the remark became so infamous it inspired a memorable Eddie Murphy sketch on Saturday Night Live.
(Photo by Mickey Adair/Getty Images)
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Civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson is no stranger to controversy. The most recent of which involves scandalous allegations of sexual discrimination and harassment from within his Rainbow PUSH organization. Yet from the moment he’s been on the national scene he has been surrounded by personal and political drama. The following are his most infamous moments in the spotlight…