Published February 26, 2013
A New York assemblyman has apologized after wearing blackface, an Afro wig and a basketball jersey to a costume party for a Jewish holiday.
New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind at first had vigorously defended his costume, which he wore to a Purim celebration. According to MyFoxNY.com, he described the criticism as "political correctness to the absurd. There is not a prejudiced bone in my body."
He explained on his blog: "It was Purim. People dress up."
But colleagues quickly condemned Hikind's outfit. Assemblyman Karim Camara, with the state state Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus, called the costume "callous and repugnant."
At a news conference outside his Brooklyn home, 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."
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."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.