AP NEWS

NORTHAM ISN’T THE FIRST

February 6, 2019
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Billy Crystal performs during the 84th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Other white politicians and celebrities have faced criticism for blackface performances.

Comedian Billy Crystal was criticized in 2012 for impersonating Sammy Davis Jr. in blackface during his opening montage at the Oscars, a repeat of his oft-performed skit from “Saturday Night Live” from the 1980s.

Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan had to apologize in 2000 for a picture of him and his brothers singing in a blackface quartet in 1960 that came up during his run for U.S. Senate in 1999. He died in a plane crash the next year, but won the Senate seat anyway.

Actor Ted Danson was accused of being racist and tasteless for performing a skit in blackface, using the N-word and joking about his sex life with then-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg, who is black, at Goldberg’s Friars Club roast in 1993.

Dozens of other whites, including college fraternities and sororities, public officials and law enforcement officers, have also been criticized for blackface incidents.

Florida Secretary of State Mike Ertel resigned last month after a newspaper obtained photos of him in blackface and wearing earrings, a New Orleans Saints bandanna and fake breasts under a purple T-shirt that said “Katrina Victim.” The photos were taken two months after the deadly storm ravaged the Gulf Coast in 2005, killing more than a thousand people.

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