NY assemblyman Hikind apologizes over controversial Purim costume

Click photo to download. Caption: In center, New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind dressed in his controversial Purim costume. Credit: Facebook.(JNS.org) New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who initially defended himself, has now expressed regret over a Purim costume he wore Sunday that some called racist.

Hikind, a longtime Democratic assemblyman from Brooklyn and a leader in New York’s Orthodox Jewish community, dressed as a black basketball player for a party at his home. His outfit included an Afro wig, brown makeup, a basketball jersey and sunglasses, according to a photo posted on Facebook.

Amid an initial story about the costume in the New York Observer on Monday, Hikind at first dismissed the negative reaction to the outfit in his blog, saying the criticism was “political correctness to the absurd.”

But more negative reaction continued to pour in—including a statement by New York’s powerful assembly leader, Sheldon Silver, who called his actions “inappropriate and offensive,” and from Karim Camara, chairman of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, Karim Camara, who called the costume “callous and repugnant,” the Associated Press reported.

At a news conference outside his home on Tuesday, Hikind pledged to be “a little more careful, a little more sensitive.” According to the Associated Press, he added: “I repeat, it was not meant to in any way hurt anyone. And those that were? I’m sorry. That was not my intention.” 

Posted on February 26, 2013 .