A Republican politician running for a state legislature seat in Louisiana is under fire after a picture surfaced of him in blackface.
Louisiana politics website The Hayride uncovered the photo, which showed Robbie Gatti dressed as Tiger Woods:
In a Facebook post, Gatti confirmed the image was of him and said it was taken 15 years ago at a church festival “where all the volunteers were told to dress as a famous person.”
However, he offered no apologies and even defended it:
“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.”
A local Republican official said the image was “from a different time.”
“My guess is that people are not going to go back in time, they’re going to view this as a current affairs thing. It’s not,” Mike Collier, chairman of the Bossier Parish GOP, told local ABC station KTBS. “I’m sorry he did it, I’m sure he’s sorry, if he had a chance to do it over he would. It is what it is.”
Gatti is running against three other Republicans in a special election on March 25 for a seat previously held by Mike Johnson, also a Republican. Johnson was elected to the House of Representatives in November.