Hank Williams Jr. released a statement today about his comparison between Obama and Hitler, claiming he was misunderstood and linking himself to the Tea Party protests.
In an interview Monday morning on Fox News' Fox & Friends, Williams said that Obama's golf game with House Speaker John Boehner was like Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister Benajmin] Netanyahu, going on to call Obama the enemy.
Since then, ESPN has pulled Williams' Monday Night Football intro song, All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night, from circulation. It is unclear whether the song, which has become synonymous with the channel and has garnered Williams four Emmys, will be used again.
Williams' statement, released today through his publicist, blasted the media for overreacting to his words, saying they were extreme but useful as a general parallel. He also claimed that the Tea Party is able to get away with much more. Every time the media brings up the tea party it's painted as racist and extremist-- but there's never a backlash --no outrage to those comparisons, he said.
His defense, however, aligns easily with recent Tea Party protesters. Amid allegations (reported by the Christian Science Monitor) that a racial epithet was directed at black members of Congress during a recent rally, and with various signs sporting similar Hitler-Obama comparisons, the group has turned towards highlighting its commitment to initiatives like fiscal responsibility in Washington, building off the buzz of Occupy Wall Street. Williams, too, claims that his comments were fueled by anger at the lousy economy. When both sides are high-fiving it on the ninth hole when everybody else is without a job -- it makes a whole lot of us angry, he said. Something has to change. The policies have to change.
A commentator at The Tennessean has expressed disgust with Williams' comments. As an America, to compare any American President to Hitler is disturbing and speaks volumes to the hate these media clowns spew forth every day, he said.
Others on the same site, however, which has served at times as a shrine to country star Hank Williams Sr., have shown strong support for the controversial comments, as The Christian Science Monitor reported. White men really have to watch what they say, said commenter rodneyellis. Now if the good reverends Al or Jessie had said something like this it would have been ok. More than 60% of respondents in a poll on The Tennessean said ESPN was wrong to take action pointing out that the comparison was one of polar opposites, not of ideologies.