ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – A New York assemblyman who at first vigorously defended wearing 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 basketball garb 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.”
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.
The powerful leader of the Democrat-led Assembly, Speaker Sheldon Silver, weighed in shortly after Hikind’s news conference, calling Hikind’s actions “inappropriate and offensive.” No action against Hikind was announced.
Earlier this month, Hikind 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.
Hikind demanded an explanation from Galliano for his costume.
“If it was just anyone else, I wouldn’t know what to say. But considering who this guy is, considering his background and what he’s said in the past, let him explain it to all of us: Are you mocking us?” Hikind told the New York Post.
On Jan. 31, Hikind asked the president of Brooklyn College to resign for failing to stop an event he said had a racist agenda. He wrote on his blog at the time that the “BDS Movement Against Israel” event called for a unilateral boycott against Israel and Israeli businesses.
In Albany, Hikind has championed some conservative and religion-based issues. In 2009, he opposed an early vote to legalize same-sex marriage
“It is about what I believe God wants,” Hikind said then. “God doesn’t flip-flop on an issue.”
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon