A day after he expressed first defiance and then regret over a blackface costume worn to a Purim celebration, Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind continued to apologize on Twitter and his blog.
“Unintentional as they were, I recognize now that the connotations of my Purim costume were deeply offensive to many,” Hikind wrote on Tuesday. “I am sincerely sorry that I have hurt anyone. I apologize for the pain that I have caused anyone by this incident, and by any remarks that I have made in connection with it.”
The explanation came in the face of mounting criticism for the Brooklyn assemblyman, who initially resisted apologizing for dressing up as a basketball player at masquerade party to mark the Jewish holiday of Purim and called the backlash to his costume “absurd.”
But politicians throughout the city demanded that he show more contrition for the costume, which surfaced on his son’s Facebook account and was first reported by the New York Observer.
At a hastily called press conference Monday, Hikind softened his stance. “Anyone that was offended, I am sorry that they were offended,” he said.
But even Hikind’s lengthier apology Tuesday didn’t stem the tide of complaints. Members of the black clergy and elected officials led by City Councilman Charles Barron gathered Tuesday morning on the steps of City Hall to denounce Hikind.
Barron called on Hikind to resign and asked Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to remove Hikind from his position as assistant majority leader. “That to me would show this state that you would not tolerate this kind of behavior. If he doesn’t do that, it’s just a slap on the wrist,” said Barron.
Speakers also referenced Hikind’s frequent denouncement of actions he found to be anti-Semitic. “Dov Hikind is the first person who will holler about something when he thinks or hears a whisper that it might be anti-Semitic but does not recognize something is disrespectful to another community,” said Assembly member Annette Robinson.
There was tension even among the speakers, with Barron approaching the podium again after Councilman Jumaane Williams, who called on Hikind to make a sincere apology. Barron said speakers weren’t asking for any more apologies, “not at this press conference.”
Prior to the event, Barron called out to Mayor Bloomberg as the Mayor made his way into City Hall to ask him where he stood on the controversy. “This time we agreed,” Bloomberg shouted back at him.