A New York assemblyman who at first defended his decision to sport blackface, an Afro wig and a basketball jersey to a costume party apologized Monday, saying he didn’t mean to hurt anyone.
Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind wore the getup at his own party in his home to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim, for which costumes are commonly part of the celebration. For hours on Monday, Hikind was assailed by criticism that he initially dismissed as “political correctness to the absurd,” reports the AP.
At a news conference outside his Brooklyn home, however, Hikind pledged to be “a little more careful, a little more sensitive.” He added: “I repeat, it was not meant to in any way hurt anyone. And those that were? I’m sorry. That was not my intention.”
Assemblyman Karim Camara of the state Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus had called Hikind’s actions at the party “callous and repugnant.”
“It brings back the memories of African-Americans being reduced to buffoonery just to gain access to the entertainment industry,” said Camara, who is also a Brooklyn Democrat and a black leader in the New York state Legislature.
Ironically, Hikind earlier this month criticized the fashion designer John Galliano, who was recently photographed in New York City dressing as a Hasid with a long jacket and curly sidelocks. Two years ago, Galliano was fired from Christian Dior after his anti-Semitic rant was caught on video.