Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind apologized late Monday for wearing blackface at a Purim party that he hosted the day before.
On Sunday, Hikind wore an Afro wig, an orange basketball jersey and had his face painted brown by a professional makeup artist. He said that he dressed as “a black basketball player.”
Many were offended by Hikind’s choice to don blackface. He initially tried to deflect criticism of his costume, calling it “political correctness to the absurd,” but changed his tune at some point on Monday and offered his apology. According to CNN, Hikind told reporters: “Anyone who was offended, I am sorry that they were offended. That was not the intention, and that is really all I can say. I just have to reiterate it was Purim. Purim is when people get dressed up.”
Assemblyman Karim Camara, who also represents Brooklyn, called Hikind’s costume “callous and repugnant.” He also clearly feels that Hikind’s somewhat forced apology wasn’t nearly enough.
“I don't think what he has said so far is sufficient,” Camara said. “It is a beginning, but we need to have a dialogue with him.” Camara said that the use of blackface “brings back the memories of African-Americans being reduced to buffoonery just to gain access to the entertainment industry.”
The deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Kenneth Jacobson, also weighed in on the situation. “[Hikind] didn't take into account the history and context of what this is all about,” Jacobson said. “That is the most disturbing part -- what he failed to think.”
Ironically enough Hikind was in the news earlier this month for criticizing designer John Galliano’s clothes. During New York Fashion Week, Galliano was seen wearing a dress that made him look like “one of the Hasidic people I represent,” according to Hikind. The reason he took exception was because Galliano had previously been convicted of making anti-Semitic remarks by a Paris court.