A Brooklyn Democratic assemblyman defended and finally apologized Monday for wearing blackface and an afro during a weekend celebration of the Jewish holiday of Purim.
“I was just, I think, I was trying to emulate, you know, maybe some of these basketball players. Someone gave me a uniform, someone gave me the hair of the actual, you know, sort of a black basketball player,” Dov Hikind explained to The New York Observer. “It was just a lot of fun. Everybody just had a very, very good time and every year I do something else.”
“The fun for me is when people come in and don’t recognize me,” he added.
Hikind dressed in a black afro wig, orange jersey, brown face paint and sunglasses. His wife dressed as a devil and his son wore yin-yang face paint and a cap in a photo circulating online.
Monday morning, after receiving complaints and criticism from people who saw images of his attire, Hikind posted a defense on his blog entitled, “It’s Purim. People Dress Up.”
“Yes, I wore a costume on Purim and hosted a party. Most of the people who attended also wore costumes. Everywhere that Purim was being celebrated, people wore costumes. It was Purim. People dress up,” he wrote.
“I am intrigued that anyone who understands Purim—or for that matter understands me—would have a problem with this. This is political correctness to the absurd. There is not a prejudiced bone in my body,” Hikind added.
Monday afternoon, The New York Daily News reported that Hikind apologized, contending that he did not realize people would be offended by the costume.
“In hindsight, I should have picked something else. It never crossed my mind for a split second that I was doing something wrong. It was as innocent as something can be,” he said according to the New York Daily News.