ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — One Missouri councilman has come under fire for wearing blackface to a Halloween party and another from the same city has apologized in a Facebook post for costumes in which he dressed as a slave owner one year and as someone who was mentally disabled the next.
St. Joseph City Councilman Brian Myers issued the apology Wednesday. Myers had said days earlier that Councilman Kent “Spanky” O’Dell owed the public an apology when a picture resurfaced of O’Dell dressed as Aunt Jemima in blackface at a Halloween party in 2012, The St. Joseph News-Press reported.
O’Dell, who also is the deputy mayor, posted a statement on Facebook that has since been deleted in which he said he “didn’t have a racist bone” in his body.
“I had Halloween parties every year and 8 years ago I chose to go as the character Aunt Jemima,” O’Dell’s post said. “I sure would have never done this knowing I was offending anyone and especially my African-American friends.”
O’Dell didn’t immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.
Myers later made his own post, which was visible only to his Facebook friends, including a News-Press reporter.
“I’m not perfect either,” Myers wrote. “And for me to state that someone owes the community an apology for an offensive Halloween costume (no matter how many years ago it was), without publicly recognizing and acknowledging my own insensitive actions years ago would make me a huge hypocrite.”
Myers told The Associated Press that he and a Black friend attended a party nearly a decade ago where his friend dressed like a slave and he dressed as Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Col. Harland Sanders. The following year, he wore a bike helmet and pretended he had been in a crash, slurring his speech, he said.
“I think an apology for my behavior is long overdue and that is why I made that post,” Myers told the AP. “Things of this nature have always been wrong. Sometimes it takes seeing things through the eyes of others to realize just how ignorant you are when you are younger.”
St. Joseph Mayor Bill McMurray said the only recourse for such behavior was for voters to recall council members from office.