Guess who’s coming to dinner: Jesse Jackson ‘disgusted’ after Jean-Marie Le Pen photobombs him
At about 6:10pm on this day in 1968, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead on a motel balcony in Memphis. pic.twitter.com/ycuCNYJs0S— Tim Brannigan (@tim_brannigan) April 4, 2016
Jackson, who was with Martin Luther King Jr when he was shot down by a white nationalist in Memphis 48 years ago, later said on Twitter that he didn’t know Le Pen would be there.
.@lepenjm Did not know you were coming to dinner. Never met you before. Do not share your beliefs.— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) May 10, 2016
That was in reaction to photos posted by the 87-year-old former leader of the National Front party on his Twitter account.
May 8.2016 : « Jean-Marie, Jany LE PEN, Keep Hope Alive, Continue! » J.JACKSON pic.twitter.com/QPahdhZ0cF— Jean-Marie Le Pen (@lepenjm) May 10, 2016
“Keep Hope Alive” was a slogan used by Jackson during his unsuccessful bid for presidency in 1988.
The Baptist minister, who was in France to commemorate the abolition of slavery, voiced “disgust” following the encounter on Wednesday and said he found Le Pen’s views “repulsive.”
“I did not know him, I’ve never met with him before, and I find his ideas xenophobic and repulsive,” the civil rights leader told AFP in an attempt to explain the bizarre encounter, which took place at a Moroccan restaurant.
Though it remains unclear how the dinner arrangements came to be, Jackson insisted it wasn’t a political meeting and that Le Pen, along with his wife Jany, “were invited by other hosts.”
An unnamed associate of Le Pen told AFP that the US pastor knew exactly who Le Pen was before the dinner took place.
“There was no trap and there was even an agreement with their mutual Moroccan friends that the dinner was not private,” he said, adding that a professional photographer had been hired to take photos.
If I RT someone w/ questionable politics, I get a head's up. I find it hard to believe Jackson didn't know Le Pen... https://t.co/rZy5hhOeob— OLAASM (@OLAASM) May 11, 2016
Le Pen, co-founder of the National Front party and Donald Trump supporter, has a long history of controversial views and racist statements.
He was fined by a court for inciting hatred against Muslims by saying they would take over France due to their growing population - and frequently complains that French national football team has too many non-white players.
@maddow Don't forget Trump was endorsed by Jean-Marie Le Pen, a Holocaust denier, racist, and anti-Semite.— Bevan Davies (@bevanowendavies) February 29, 2016