A white Oklahoma mayoral candidate has apologized after video emerged ofPolyester Kotton him dressing up as a black woman.
Bill Helton, an Elk City commissioner and mayoral candidate, says he and an African-American friend came up with the “Pollyester Kotton” character a long time ago.
Helton, who is also a hair stylist, says the character was an idea given birth at a beauty salon, KFOR reports.
“The character came about from one of my clients, who was African-American, from Texas,” Helton said.
“It’s just satire. It’s just a character,” he added.
Helton says his transformation into the character has been used to raise money at numerous fundraisers for people in need.
“We filled the house and raised over 20-something-thousand dollars for three families in need,” Helton told the station.
He says the character is used for good and was never intended to offend anyone.
“Anyone that’s offended, I would sit down and talk to them. Because my heart is, I would never do that and want to help whoever I can help,” Helton said.
He continued: “If they were offended, then I apologize because that was never my intent, never my heart, to set out to offend someone.”
KFOR spoke with Anthony R. Douglas, President of the Oklahoma State Conference NAACP, who took issue with Helton dressing up in blackface.
“Yes, this is a character. Men playing women or a woman playing a man is not new and can be very funny. But in black face? Have we learned nothing at all? This ‘character’ could have been just as effective done without the black face makeup and would be far less offensive,” Douglas said.