A shockingly racist photo discovered this week features a frontrunner for the Louisiana House of Representative race wearing blackface as a Halloween costume.
Robbie Gatti, a candidate for the 8th District, has a wide grin on his face which is covered in greasy black paint and is wearing a sloppily made Nike cap, in a bid to look like golfer Tiger Woods. The photo first appeared on a conservative Louisiana politics site, The Hayride which revealed Gatti was with members of the First Baptist Church, where he used to be a pastor.
The Republican confirmed the picture was authentic, but refused to apologize for the incident.
“Fifteen years ago, my church held a fall festival, where all the volunteers were told to dress as a famous person,” he explained in a Facebook post. “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.”
If that was the Republican’s attempt at impersonating Woods, he sadly seems to have gone way overboard as his face looks disproportionately black in the picture when compared to Woods’ own natural brown complexion. Additionally, regardless of his intentions, it seems Gatti does not understand the racist implications of painting one’s face black.
It is not yet clear whether the revelation of the photo, which began receiving national outrage, will negatively harm the Republican’s campaign.
Another day, another member of the GOP being exposed as a racist. Meet Robbie Gatti who's running for Louisiana State Rep in District 8. https://t.co/jDGiiy2Yku— Simar Ahluwalia (@sahluwal) February 28, 2017
robbie gatti's blackface halloween costume is sickening. a man like that isn't fit to lead a conga line... let alone be a part of government— Madison Anderson (@madisonm_a) February 27, 2017
Meet Robbie Gatti. Gatti is running for Louisiana State Rep in District 8. He’s a strong Republican, a pro life quack and a racist. https://t.co/WZb6XPjxEL— Coconut Oil Papi (@CudLife101) February 27, 2017
But he is not the only candidate for Louisiana’s District 8 seat to have become a target of backlash in the past few months.
Republican Michael “Duke” Lowrie was also criticized for a 2015 Facebook post in which he wrote he would “challenge every Islamist I see to denounce their false god and religion” and would boycott Muslim-owned or -run businesses.