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Indiana Official Says He Was Inspired By Dave Chappelle After Old Blackface Pic Sparks Outrage

Indiana Official Says He Was Inspired By Dave Chappelle After Old Blackface Pic Sparks Outrage
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A councilman in the town of Merrillville, Indiana is coming under fire after the resurfacing of a photo of him in blackface at a 2003 Halloween party, posed beside someone dressed in a Ku Klux Klan hood.

The councilman, Jeff Minchuk, explained the Halloween costume was inspired by one of Black comedian Dave Chappelle's sketches.

After the photo showed up via past social media posts of Minchuk's, he issued an apology on Facebook, which read:

"I blame no one else for what happened, it was my decision and a poor one at that. The thing that bothers me the most is, that this is not who I am. I never have been or ever will be involved in any type of racism."

In another photo that resurfaced, Minchuk is posed with his hands behind his back beside another man dressed as a police officer wielding a baton.

Minchuk explained the man in the KKK outfit with whom he is posed is a Black friend who planned the joint Halloween costume with him. Minchuk said they were re-enacting a skit from comedian Dave Chappelle's 2000s Comedy Central series Chappelle's Show in which a Black man is a member of the KKK.

As Minchuk explained:

"My good friend, who is African American, went as the Black White supremacist and I went as the opposite. We thought that switching races for the party would be comedic, just like the show's skit."
"We were hoping to show people that, even though this is comedy, that we can all get along no matter what."
Minchuk went on to say he now feels the costume showed poor judgment.
"As I got older, I realized that this idea was a poor decision, and I can see how the pictures might be viewed and questioned today."

He also offered his "deepest apologies" for the incident.

But on Twitter, many felt it was too little, too late.

Speaking to local paper The Times of Northeast Indiana, Merrillville Town Council President Rick Bella said a meeting has been called for next week to discuss how to handle the incident.