After taking his sweet time while a backlash boiled, New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind figured out Tuesday that wearing blackface on Purim wasn’t, you know, such a good idea.
After initially insisting he couldn’t “imagine anyone getting offended” by the racially charged costume, the Brooklyn politician went on an “apology campaign” Tuesday, telling voters via the radio and social media, “I am sincerely sorry that I have hurt anyone. I apologize for the pain that I have caused anyone by this incident, and by any remarks that I have made in connection with it.”
Hikind’s belated contrition may end the outrage; either way, it came too slowly to prevent a segment on “The Daily Show,” where Comedy Central host Jon Stewart discussed the incident with “senior Purim correspondent” Jessica Williams.
Perhaps surprisingly, the segment didn’t go the most obvious route, simply mocking Hikind’s insensitivity and boorish initial response to the controversy. Instead, Williams and Stewart used the episode to call for a return to a more traditional style of Purim celebration. “Correct me if I’m wrong, Jon, but at what point in the Book of Esther do the Harlem Globetrotters show up?” Williams asked in mock outrage.
The brief clip includes some fairly specific Purim minutiae, such as an explanation of the holiday’s noisemakers and its date on the Hebrew calendar.
One unexpected element: Stewart laughs at Williams’ mispronunciation of some Hebrew, but has troubles of his own when saying the name Mordechai, one of the Purim story’s heroes.