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Gov. Kay Ivey issues apology for participating in racist skit at Auburn

“As such, I fully acknowledge – with genuine remorse – my participation in a skit like that back when I was a senior in college."

Posted: Aug 29, 2019 2:16 PM
Updated: Aug 29, 2019 10:44 PM

Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday issued the following statement:

“I have now been made aware of a taped interview that my then-fiance, Ben LaRavia, and I gave to the Auburn student radio station back when I was SGA Vice President.

Gov. Kay Ivey

“Even after listening to the tape, I sincerely do not recall either the skit, which evidently occurred at a Baptist Student Union party, or the interview itself, both which occurred 52-years ago. Even though Ben is the one on tape remembering the skit – and I still don’t recall ever dressing up in overalls or in blackface – I will not deny what is the obvious.

“As such, I fully acknowledge – with genuine remorse – my participation in a skit like that back when I was a senior in college.

“While some may attempt to excuse this as acceptable behavior for a college student during the mid-1960s, that is not who I am today, and it is not what my Administration represents all these years later.

“I offer my heartfelt apologies for the pain and embarrassment this causes, and I will do all I can – going forward – to help show the nation that the Alabama of today is a far cry from the Alabama of the 1960s. We have come a long way, for sure, but we still have a long way to go.”

Below is a statement from Senator Doug Jones:

"There is a long and painful history associated with blackface in our country. It has been used to demean and dehumanize African Americans and there is absolutely no excuse for it. I appreciate the way Governor Ivey has addressed this in a straightforward manner. Accepting responsibility while apologizing and expressing remorse are important ways to move beyond our mistakes. However, as you look around today you still see marginalized communities and racial disparities in almost every facet of Alabama life and it is painfully clear that we have never fully reckoned with the issues of race that continue to divide us. In fact, they are often being ignored. We need to continue to confront our history, especially the darkest chapters, if we are going to learn from those mistakes and move forward together. Governor Ivey now has a unique opportunity to do more than any Alabama Governor in recent memory to correct the injustices that still exist in our society. I hope she will seize it.”

Below is a statement from Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan:

“The Alabama Republican Party appreciates and supports Governor Kay Ivey taking ownership of and responsibility for this 50 plus year old incident. While it occurred when she was a college student, Governor Ivey has stood up, admitted her mistake and offered a sincere apology though she has no recollection of the event. Her extraordinary record of public service shows her ability to work with all people regardless of race, religion or party affiliation. We stand with Governor Ivey uniting our state for a greater future.”

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