A frontrunner for a seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives refused to apologize after a photo surfaced of him wearing blackface as part of a Tiger Woods Halloween costume.
Robbie Gatti is the slight favorite to beat out the three other contenders for the vacated seat, but the photo published in The Hayride seems likely to change all that.
Here's the photo.
The photo was taken at a fall festival 15 years ago, when Gatti was associate pastor at First Baptist Church in Bossier City, Louisiana. Not only is Gatti in blackface, but the Nike swoosh is facing the wrong direction.
Gatti quickly took to Facebook. He did so not to apologize, but to decry the negativity of the campaign.
"15 years ago, my church held a fall festival, where all the volunteers were told to dress as a famous person," he wrote. "Tiger Woods was at the height of his popularity, as a world champion, and that was who I was dressed as. Shortly after this event, I was ordained into the church. As a medical professional, ordained minister and military officer, I live my life seeing only character and I stand by that. I'm sad that my opponents have taken a good night at church and turned it into negative, political mud, but I'm confident the voters of Bossier will not fall for their desperate attacks."
While this would seem to be a headshot for a modern politician's candidacy, his core constituents seem to be flocking to his side.
"I find it interesting that anyone would consider this anything more than what it was...a Halloween costume," one commenter writes. "We all know your heart and it's also interesting that you would enjoy church service yesterday with the wonderful Doyle Adams if you had the kind of negativity in your heart that is being implied! Keep the faith. Don't hesitate to defend yourself to those who may not know you well! Sad this is all they could find. Thanks for staying on the high road!"
Finally, it should be noted that blackface is racist.