This year’s National Fundamentalist Conference, held at Clay Mills Road Baptist, in Kentucky has stirred up some controversy. When the conference decided to do a boxing match skit the pastor’s assistant, Joseph Pickens, showed up in blackface, playing the character of 80’s TV star, Mr.T.
Pickens posted his photo as Mr.T on Twitter saying, “#NYFC 2014 fool. It’s about to go down! Who thinks they can contend with the champ???”
Pickens Twitter feed was quickly lit up with comments who found the photos offensive.
The skit was posted to YouTube with Pickens slap-boxing with another person dressed up as Curly from The Three Stooges. Clay Mills Church’s pastor, Jeff Fugate, was shocked when alerted of the incident.
“If we did something to offend someone, it was out of ignorance and I apologize,” Fugate said, according to published reports. He said Pickens plays the villain in church skits every year and that although he’s never had to have the skits cleared before, from now on, all skits will be approved beforehand. Fugate pleaded ignorance when he was asked how a white man wearing a blackface in the South didn’t raise any initial red flags.
“I am so sorry that I have offended anyone by doing something that would be ignorant,” Fugate said. “It was innocent, I promise you.” He blamed his assistant’s poor decision on inexperience.
“Pickens just graduated last year from our Bible college,” he said. “That guy is just a young assistant, he is not even a pastor… he’s just an assistant.”
Fugate also mentioned that a sizeable portion of his congregation is black, and that he has “absolutely zero racism in his heart towards black people.”
As for Pickens, his Twitter account has now been switched to private.