According to The Monroe Sun, Justin Orlando, a Republican candidate for school board in Monroe, Connecticut, is in hot water over racially controversial social media posts, including one of him dressed in blackface — but is doubling down and accusing his critics of waging a "smear campaign."
"At the party in 2018, Orlando and a friend went as stars of the popular 1980's TV show 'Miami Vice.' Orlando, who is White, darkened his face with makeup to resemble the character Detective Ricardo Tubbs, who is Black," reported Bill Bittar. "Nick Kapoor and Alan Vaglivelo, two Democrats on the Board of Education who are not up for reelection, issued a press release calling it racially insensitive, because of the history of blackface being used to ridicule African-Americans."
Orlando is refusing to apologize.
"There is tremendous irony in being harshly accused of prejudice by folks who are actually exhibiting that very behavior when using photos to cast their pre-judgement," he wrote on Facebook. "They are acting hypocritically by demonstrating their prejudice behaviors in pretending to know who I am or how I have lived my 42 years of life simply by a photo." He added that "to me, there is nothing racial about it."
Orlando also pushed back against accusations that he displayed a "white power" sign in another Facebook photo, saying it just showed him playing the "circle game."
This controversy comes as Faron Hamblin, a white town councilman in Richmond, Virginia, is under fire for darkening his skin to dress as musician Randy Watson. He has compared the criticism of his costume to the backlash against Black comedian Dave Chappelle's transgender stand-up routine.