All 3 of Virginia’s top Democratic leadership face serious sexual assault and racism scandals
On Wednesday, Virginia’s attorney general, Mark Herring, revealed he and his friends wore “brown makeup”—Blackface—to a 1980 college party, dressed as their favorite rappers. Herring’s revelations add to the pile of controversies for
Virginia’s top Democratic leadership.
In a statement, Herring said, “In 1980, when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate in college, some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow, and perform a song. It sounds ridiculous even now writing it. But because of our ignorance and glib attitudes — and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others — we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup.”
He continues, “As a senator and as attorney general, I have felt an obligation to not just acknowledge but work affirmatively to address the racial inequities and systemic racism that we know exist in our criminal justice system, in our election processes, and in other institutions of power.”
As NPR reports, the controversy comes off the heel of Gov. Ralph Northam’s apology after a resurfaced 1984 school yearbook page showed a person wearing Blackface and another dressed in a Ku Klux Klan outfit. Northam later rescinded his apology, saying he was neither one of those people in the picture.
Another top Virginia politician, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, is facing a sexual assault allegation by Vanessa Tyson, an associate professor of politics at Scripps College. Tyson says the sexual assault occurred in 2004 when both were attending the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
In a statement, she said, “With tremendous anguish, I am now sharing this information about my experience and setting the record straight. Given his false assertions, I’m compelled to make clear what happened.”
According to Virginia’s constitution, if Northam resigns, Fairfax would take his role. If both men step down, then Herring would assume the governorship.