A Kentucky Baptist church pastor is pleading “ignorance” after one of his staffers appeared in blackface during a National Young Fundamentalists Conference skit this week.
Pastor Jeff Fugate oversaw the NYFC at his Clay Mills Road Baptist Church in Lexington. The theme of the three-day conference appears to be "Contend."
Fugate’s assistant, Joe Pickens, wore blackface to play Mr. T in a boxing skit. A black teenager played Pickens’ stunt double. In the skit posted below, the white contender “Curly” wins.
Fugate apologized for the skit on Friday, claiming the blackface was misconstrued.
“If we did something to offend someone, it was out of ignorance and I apologize,” Fugate told the Daily Mail.
“I apologize if I offended someone, I don’t even know as a pastor what those skits will be,” he added.
Fugate, head of the church for 23 years, said Pickens plays the villain in the skit every year.
“It was innocent, I promise you,” he added.
He also defended Pickens.
“[Pickens] just graduated last year from our bible college,” said Fugate. “That guy is just a young assistant, he is not even a pastor… he’s just an assistant.”
Pickens tweeted an image of himself wearing blackface and boxing robe.
“#NYFC 2014 fool! It’s about to go down! Who thinks they can contend with the champ?” he wrote.
His tweets have since been privacy protected.
"There are no words. Oh wait… there’s one. He actually used it himself, ‘fool.’ Racist also works," replied @RevDaniel.
“I just don’t understand a PASTOR of all people not understanding the wrongness of this,’ @Rev Daniel added.
Fugate says all skits will now be cleared by him first.
Vogue Italia released a feature this week with a Dutch model wearing blackface and posing with animals commonly found in Africa.
"We're thoroughly confused as to why the magazine didn't think this type of editorial would be offensive and why they didn't just use a black model in the first place," writes Julee Wilson of the Huffington Post.