Determined not to be the next casualty of a blackface scandal, a candidate for South Carolina sheriff has gotten ahead of the game and released a campaign video admitting his past indiscretion up front.
Craig Stivender, a Republican running for sheriff in Colleton County, shows a photograph of himself wearing blackface “about 10 years ago.”
“I’ll be the first to tell you I’m not perfect,” Stivender says in the four-minute-long video. “I’ve made mistakes, and I wish I could change a thing or two.”
He goes on to explain that the picture is from a law enforcement Halloween party during which he was dressed as drug kingpin ‘Big Meech’ Flenory — a member of the ‘Black Mafia’ family — and says he did it “to disparage a criminal whose actions hurt our community and country.” Flenory was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2008.
Stivender recognizes, however, that this was a “different time” and acknowledges that his costume would be “troubling” to many people.
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“To those who may be upset, I understand your disappointment, but I value honesty, so I’m opening my campaign with transparency,” he said.
But the blackface incident isn’t the only past lapse in judgement Stivender admits to. He also brings up an old driving ticket he received as a 16-year-old and said he had been in fender benders “that were my fault.”
“I’ve been married, divorced and remarried. I’ve lost my temper and been reprimanded at work,” he continues.
Explaining the fairly unusual campaign strategy, Stivender says he wanted to admit to the things some politicians would usually “try to hide.”
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