A Republican sheriff candidate is in hot water after he admitted to wearing blackface at a Halloween party nearly ten years ago.
Craig Stivender, who is running for the position in Colleton County, South Carolina, tried to get out in front of the impending controversy by talking about the photo, his divorce, and his poor temperament as a police officer in his campaign announcement video.
Stivender explained to NPR that he released the video to provide transparency. "Basically if I'm going to run on honesty and integrity, I'm willing to put out things bad about me," the firefighter said in an interview with the outlet.
He said he dressed up as Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory, the infamous drug kingpin who headed the drug trafficking organization Black Mafia Family. Stivender says he chose the figure because he’s a police officer, and wanted to choose the opposite for a costume.
“I did it to disparage a criminal whose actions hurt our community and country,” Stivender said in the video. “That was a different time. Today we understand that type of costume is troubling to many. To those who may be upset, I understand your disappointment. But I value honesty, so I’m opening my campaign with transparency.”
The election takes place in November 2020.
Stivender isn’t the only person to have apologized recently for wearing offensive makeup. Candanian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau found himself embroiled in controversy in September for wearing racist makeup in the past.
"I'm going to be asking Canadians to forgive me for what I did...it was a dumb thing to do,” the Canadian leader said. “I'm disappointed in myself, I'm pissed off at myself for having done it. I wish I hadn't done it, but I did it."