He dressed as Tiger Woods 16 years ago
Robbie Gatti, a Republican politician who is a front-runner for a seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives, is not backing down after a photo of him in blackface dressed as Tiger Woods was uncovered.
The photo was originally posted in an article on The Hayride:
In a Facebook post dated February 27th, the politician responded to the backlash:
"The negative attacks have started, so let me directly respond. 15 years ago, my church held a fall festival, where all the volunteers were told to dress as a famous person. Tiger Woods was at the height of his popularity, as a world champion, and that was who I was dressed as. Shortly after this event, I was ordained into the church. As a medical professional, ordained minister and military officer, I live my life seeing only character and I stand by that. I'm sad that my opponents have taken a good night at church and turned it into negative, political mud, but I'm confident the voters of Bossier will not fall for their desperate attacks."
Mike Collier, chairman of the Bossier Parish GOP spoke to KTBS and said, “My guess is that people are not going to go back in time, they’re going to view this as a current affairs thing. It’s not … I’m sorry he did it, I’m sure he’s sorry, if he had a chance to do it over he would. It is what it is.”
But he didn't apologize. In fact, he seems to be playing the victim when it's clear he made a poor judgment call.
Because it's never OK to put on blackface. Like, ever. I don't care if you're Republican, Democrat, Independent, or a Smurf — there are things you just don't do, and wearing blackface is one of them.
Even comedians who sometimes are known for pushing the envelope, know by now that this racist form of mockery is simply unacceptable.
Sarah Silverman learned that lesson the hard way back in 2007.
On an episode of her then show, The Sarah Silverman Program, she appeared in blackface, and she was most certainly met with outrage for it.
In a 2015 interview with Andy Cohen, she said:
“I had an episode on ‘The Sarah Silverman Program’ that I love called ‘Face Wars’ where me and the waiter in the restaurant, played by Alex Désert, switch ... I say it’s harder to be Jewish and he says it’s harder to be black, and we switch for the day ... It’s really aggressively stupid and we’re both idiots ... I’m in like the most racist blackface and he’s wearing paius and a yarmulke and a big fake Jewish nose and he’s wearing a t-shirt that says ‘I Love Money ... It’s great, but there’s a still of me on twitter in blackface and it’s totally out of context and I tweeted it when Twitter was new and the people who followed me watched that show and it was from that show ... Now it’s forever there and it looks … it’s totally racist out of context and I regret that.”
It's unclear whether this will affect his race for the house seat, but time will tell.
In the meantime, Robbie Gatti would do well to take a cue from Sarah Silverman and learn some humility.