Bill Helton, candidate for mayor of Elk City, Oklahoma, has apologized after video of him dressed in blackface and drag started making the rounds online, KFOR reported.
The character Helton played, named “Pollyester Kotton,” is supposedly based on one of his clients from his hair salon.
Helton has dressed up as “Kotton” for several charity events since 2005, the last one in 2013.
“We filled the house and raised over 20-something-thousand dollars for three families in need,” said Helton.
Helton insists that its just satire, and also said that he never meant for the character to offend anyone.
“If they were offended, then I apologize because that was never my intent, never my heart, to set out to offend someone,” he said.
President of the Oklahoma State Conference NAACP, however, says Helton should have stayed away from using blackface, which is considered highly offensive.
“Yes, this is a character,” Douglas said. “Men playing women or a woman playing a man is not new and can be very funny. But in blackface? Have we learned nothing at all? This ‘character’ could have been just as effective[ly] done without the blackface makeup and would be far less offensive.”
Watch KFOR’s coverage of Helton and his character.