Craig Stivender might not be the brightest crayon the box given that he thought it was a bright idea to include an old picture of himself in blackface in his promotional video running for Sheriff.
Stivender, 36, is a candidate for Colleton County Sheriff in South Carolina and said he wanted to beat his opponents to the punch by revealing some truths about his past. Stivender admits in his video that he dressed up a mere 10 years as convicted drug dealer Demetrius “Big Meech” Flenory, at a police Halloween party, the HuffPost reports.
It happened in 2009.
“I want to tell you some things that politicians would try to hide, things that my opponents may try to use to tarnish my integrity,” he says in the video.
Stivender also admitted he has anger issues and has done “things” he regrets.
In the video, Stivender poses with a Black woman while wearing faux gold chains with his face painted brown.
“If I’m a police officer, the exact opposite would be a gang member,” Stivender said about the choice of costume. “So that’s what I picked.”
Stivender defended his decision saying:
“I did it to disparage a criminal whose actions hurt our community and country. That was a different time. Today we understand that type of costume is troubling to many,” he said. “To those of you who may be upset, I understand your disappointment, but I value honesty.”
“To be honest with you, 10 years ago I had never heard of blackface,” he told NPR. “I didn’t know it was a legitimate thing.”
Following the widespread backlash, Stivender removed the promotional video from his Facebook page.
Stivender in vying for sheriff and must face five opponents.
Recently, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been immersed in an ongoing blackface and brownface scandal. And earlier this year, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) got embroiled in a blackface controversy after an old school yearbook surfaced with a man wearing blackface that was reported to be Northam.