A Florida lawmaker is rejecting pressure by politically correct liberals to resign over a high school photo showing him in blackface.
State Rep. Anthony Sabatini addressed the photo as the controversial issue resurfaced again amid other prominent blackface scandals, dismissing a call by Florida Democratic Chair Terrie Rizzo to resign, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Rizzo accused Sabatini of “displaying racist behavior” in the photo of him as a teen wearing dark makeup, sunglasses and a New York Yankees cap. The photo circulated after being anonymously mailed to Lake County media during Sabatini’s 2018 campaign against Democrat Cynthia Brown.
The Republican congressman denied there was anything racist about the photo which he said had been “decontextualized” from its original intent as just a prank between the two Eustis High School friends.
“I’m 16 years old, one of my best friends of the time was black, and we thought at the time — looking back, it was immature — it would be funny to dress as each other,” Sabatini told the Orlando Sentinel. “He dressed in my clothes — a Ralph Lauren polo shirt, shorts, Converse — and I dressed in his clothing … None of us thought 14 years later any of us would be a public figure and the photo would be decontextualized.”
With Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam under fire for a racist photo in his medical school yearbook, and following the resignation in January of Florida Secretary of State Michael Ertel after photos surfaced of him wearing blackface in 2005, Brown slammed her former rival in a Facebook post on Monday.
“I don’t care what age you are, where you grew up, what political party you belong in, this is not where we belong,” Brown, who was defeated by Sabatini in a 56-44 percent loss, wrote. “In light of the Florida Secretary of State resigning for belonging to such a disgusting racial divide (and by the way the Democratic [governor] of VA should also resign, so I am being consistent on my position), my former opponent Sabatini should resign.”
Rizzo joined the Democrat in echoing the call for Sabatini to step down in her own statement on Tuesday.
“Governor DeSantis did the right thing in accepting Michael Ertel’s resignation — and he and Leader Jose Oliva should do the right thing and ask for the resignation of Rep. Anthony Sabatini,” Rizzo said. “In calling out racist behavior Florida Democrats and Republicans should stand united.”
Meanwhile, Sabatini noted that his teenage prank with a friend had “zero” in common with the scandals involving Ertel and Northam. Notably, media reports on the resurfaced controversy fail to show the full photo in question, which would presumably show Sabatini’s friend dressed in white face.
Denying there was any racist objective, as some others have done as well, Sabatini’s argument drives home the question about intended racism when the intent is actually not present, as former NBC host Megyn Kelly learned last year when she was scorched for defending Halloween costumes, noting a reality star who had portrayed Diana Ross.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) October 23, 2018
Sabatini blasted the Democratic Party for wanting “to do whatever it takes to influence [elections], including going into high school yearbook pictures of you.”
Brandon Evans, Sabatini’s friend, agreed and pointed to the absurdity of the issue the Democrats are inflating.
“Every year at high school homecoming week, we had things like ‘80s days and celebrity days,” Evans told the Orlando Sentinel Tuesday. “We said, ‘I’m going to be you and you’re going to be me.’ I don’t know how it got to be seen as racial. That’s all it was.”
Despite all the gasoline the left likes to throw on non-issues, especially related to minors during their immature school years, the sound of reason still came through on Twitter.
For something he did in highschool ?
The US media have lost their fucking minds.
I’m a Blackman and support him 1000%
— Adegoke Demuren (@Mogunseja) February 6, 2019
He should’ve known in his past that the future of political correctness will destroy his life
— RedWaveRambo ?? (@redwaverambo) February 6, 2019
It’s high time people stop looking for reasons to hate.. Every little thing is offensive to everyone. People do silly, really dumb stuff when they are in high school… it is part of growing up!!! Get over it!!
— Sheila Benditz (@SheilaBenditz) February 6, 2019
can’t we just let people apologize for racist blackface 30+ years ago?
— wneirlw12 (@WNeilrlw12) February 6, 2019
Story says he and his black friend dressed up as each other as a goofy gag. Sometimes it’s important to read the story and get the full pic. Wish they had included his friend with white face. Teenagers do dumb stuff, not hateful if the story is true. Racists come in all colors.
— carmen_allgood (@carmen_allgood) February 6, 2019
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