Virginia AG Mark Herring admits wearing blackface at 1980 college party

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring admitted to wearing blackface during a college party in 1980, the latest stunning, political bombshell to rock Richmond as the state’s embattled governor and lieutenant governor also find themselves embroiled in scandal.

In a lengthy statement on Wednesday, Herring, a Democrat, said he wore brown makeup and a wig in 1980 to look like a black rapper during a party as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia.


"In 1980, when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate in college, some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow, and perform a song,” Herring said. “It sounds ridiculous even now writing it. But because of our ignorance and glib attitudes – and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others – we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup.”

Said Herring, "This was a onetime occurrence and I accept full responsibility for my conduct.”

Following his admission, Herring resigned Wednesday as co-chairman of the Democratic Attorneys General Association.

The revelation further roils the top levels of Virginia government.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax are already facing controversies, and Herring would be next in line to be governor after those two men. All three are Democrats.

Herring is among those who have called on Northam to resign after the discovery of a photo of someone in blackface and another in a KKK costume on his 1984 medical school yearbook page.

"It is no longer possible for Governor Northam to lead our Commonwealth and it is time for him to step down," Herring said over the weekend.

Fairfax, next in line to be governor, has been accused of sexual misconduct, which he denies. The Washington Post reported that Fairfax and the woman met in Boston at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and she accused him of a "sexual encounter that began with consensual kissing and ended with a forced act that left her crying and shaken.”

In a new statement Wednesday, Fairfax continued to deny wrongdoing, but said "while this allegation has been both surprising and hurtful, I also recognize that no one makes charges of this kind lightly, and I take it and this situation very seriously.”

Fairfax reiterated his denial, saying he had a “consensual encounter with the woman who made the allegation” when he was an unmarried law student.


“At no time did she express to me any discomfort or concern about our interactions, neither during that encounter, nor during the months following it, when she stayed in touch with me, nor the past fifteen years," Fairfax said. "She in no way indicated that anything that had happened between us made her uncomfortable.”

Fairfax added, “These are unprecedented and difficult times. We have the opportunity to prove ourselves worthy of the challenge and come together. I look forward to continuing my work to unify the Commonwealth.”

Virginia's Democratic Party declined to comment on the latest developments. When asked for comment, a spokesman told Fox News: "We're not taking any calls right now."

Fox News' Brooke Singman, Jon Decker and Garrett Tenney contributed to this report.