A New York assemblyman photographed wearing blackface has apologized for his actions, but fellow politicians and activist groups have deemed his apology insincere.
"Anyone who was offended, I am sorry that they were offended," Assemblyman Dov Hikind said in a press conference. He was photographed wearing an afro wig and blackface for a party celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim at his home this weekend. He was supposed to be a "black basketball player," he told The New York Times.
"Anyone who was offended, I am sorry … 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," Hikind said.
"Don't accept this feeble apology," City Council Member Charles Barron told the Wall Street Journal. "It's absurd."
"I think it's sad. It's inappropriate. It's offensive," Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, told the WSJ. "Of all things to come up with – blackface? It's just … I don't know how to explain it. It's such a lapse of judgment."
Those who partake in the Purim festivities are encouraged to listen to the reading of the megillah, according to the Purim 2013 Guide. They're also encouraged to give to the needy, send food portions to friends, eat, drink, be merry, and say special prayers. It's also a tradition for "children to dress up and disguise themselves – an allusion to the fact that the miracle of Purim was disguised in natural guidance."
In an interesting twist, Hikind was one of the leaders who criticized designer John Galliano for dressing like a Hasidic Jew after he was accused of making anti-Semitic comments.
"Who is he mocking? The way the socks look, the jacket, the peyos … My question is, who's he laughing at? 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?" he told The New York Post.