Comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory compared Walmart to the leader of Nazi Germany at a "living wage" rally in front of the D.C. City Council on Tuesday.
"When you look at Hitler and those thugs, you can put Walmart right next to them," Gregory said in his speech to the 150 or so people at the event. The crowd was gathered to protest D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray's veto of a bill that would have singled out the retail giant and forced it pay its employees $12.50 an hour.
|When you look at Hitler and those thugs, you can put Wal-Mart right next to them --- comedian Dick Gregory|
Gregory was a surprise speaker at the event and an apparent last-minute addition. He followed his remarks with a rambling diatribe about the Navy Yard shootings Monday and the death of Trayvon Martin, among other subjects.
"They talk about America the beautiful! When did America get beautiful? Ask the Indians!" Gregory said.
His remarks quieted the previously cheering crowd. Perhaps sensing the protesters' restlessness, he returned the subject to minimum wage laws before handing the microphone back to event organizers.
The event was sponsored by the nonprofit group Our D.C. and was intended to pressure to pressure D.C. City Council members to override Gray's veto. The bill was written to only affect large "big box" retailers like Walmart. The city's current minimum wage is $8.25.
The bill passed the council in an 8-5 vote in July. Walmart subsequently said it would pull out of building six new stores in the city if the law was enacted. Gray announced his opposition to the bill on Sept. 13, saying it would cost the city about 4,000 jobs and stall economic growth.