So BRANT TOMLINSON, a candidate for Kershaw County Council in SC, dressed up as the Jamaican bobsled team AND wore black face as a part of his Halloween costume for a competition... people of color are not costumes!! pic.twitter.com/R2gdKY3UeR— Paige (@alxndraw) May 23, 2018
An aspiring South Carolina politician drew widespread criticism when a controversial photo of him in blackface started to circulate the social media.
However, Brant Tomlinson, a Republican running for the Kershaw County District, didn’t seem much bothered about it as he chose to neither remove the photo from the platform nor did he sound particularly apologetic about the racially offensive act.
The picture was reportedly found on either his or a friend's Facebook page and was taken at a 2008 Halloween party, where President Donald Trump’s fan chose to represent a caricature of people of color by painting his face black, for which he still apparently has little or no remorse.
However, he did explain the costume was inspired by the characters from his all-time favorite movie "Cool Runnings," which is about a Jamaican bobsled team.
The ensuing condemnation from the citizens of Kershaw community prompted Tomlinson, who works for a law firm, to issue a terse apology. He began with claiming he did go through his Facebook photos when he decided to run for office but chose not to take the photo down.
"I think that’s one thing wrong with politicians: They try to hide everything they do," said Tomlinson. "I never in a million years really thought that would get a negative connotation on it."
Though the lawyer’s response had no mention of him feeling guilty about his poor judgement, he did claim the entire episode was propaganda instigated by one of his opponents.
“One of my opponents has apparently paid an antagonist to distribute a photograph in an effort to misrepresent my reputation,” he wrote.
“It is unfortunate that local candidates have now resorted to the same type of toxic smear campaigns that have infected the political discourse at state and national level,” Tomlinson added.
Even if one gives the candidate the benefit of doubt that whatever he did was done in the heat of the moment, the fact remains he didn’t handle the matter adequately enough despite knowing it upset a lot of people.
Moreover, his statement offers a glimpse of how he might deal with racially sensitive issues, of which there are plenty in South Carolina, if he gets into position of power.
Unsurprisingly, Tomlinson’s Twitter feed indicates he is an avid supporter of the president, which might to a certain extent explain his disregard for a highly contentious issue of singling out people of color.
Banner Image Credits: REUTERS/Andrew Kelly