Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is under scrutiny after racist photos surfaced of him and another student dressed in Blackface and KKK attire while Northam was attending Eastern Virginia Medical School. The photo was released Friday evening resulting in backlash all over social media and in the news.
Northam later that evening released a video statement apologizing for his offensive actions and said, “does not reflect the person I am today or the way that I have conducted myself as a soldier, doctor, and a public servant,” said Northam in his apology video.
Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax also released a statement saying that he was “shocked and saddened” by the racists photos. He noted that Northam had personally reached out to him and apologized for his past actions.
The President of ODU has released a statement on Sunday, Feb. 3 condemning the actions of the Virginia governor and how ODU “vigorously oppose[s] racism and all of its manifestations… we stand against any demonstrations of bigotry,” said President Broderick.
Northam has since recanted his statement and states that he is not one of the people featured in the photo. He has been pressured by many to resign, yet so far is refusing to do so. The medical school has stated that they are conducting a further investigation on the yearbook photos.
In a press statement, Northam is standing alongside his wife denying that he was one of the people featured in the photo. However, he remembers that he had darkened his skin around the same time for a costume party where he dressed up as Michael Jackson. Northam believes that since he remembers doing blackface for a Michael Jackson costume then he would remember being in the yearbook photo that has surfaced. Since he apparently cannot remember the yearbook picture his logic is that it did not happen.
The scandals that have taken over Virginia’s political climate has expanded to Fairfax as well. Not so long after the photos surfaced of Northam and speculations of him resigning spread, Fairfax was accused of sexual assault. Fairfax released a statement that “he has never assaulted anyone ever... in any way shape or form.”
The statement later goes on claiming that the rumors have been surfaced in the past and was given as a lead for the Washington Post to follow however the story was never published.