Mayoral candidate gets backlash for picture many are calling blackface

Local News
Bob Nelson

A New Haven mayoral candidate is getting backlash for taking a Halloween photo with someone who appeared to be in blackface, but the person in costume says that is not the case.

Candidate Bob Nelson was at the Halloween on Broadway event in Downtown New Haven Wednesday night. 

He was dressed up as President Donald Trump. Hundreds of people took photos with him. 

One girl who took a picture with him appeared to have her face painted black. She was also wearing a black shirt, black sweatpants and a gray hoodie.

Nelson posted the picture on his campaign’s Facebook page, along with other pictures from the night. 

While many on social media believed the girl was wearing blackface, her mother Samantha Vasquez has said she was not. She explained that her 15-year-old daughter was dressed up as her grandmother’s shadow. She also added that her daughter is Hispanic and had no idea what blackface was.

Nelson has since taken the picture down, saying he has no tolerance for that practice. 

“It’s not appropriate, it’s wrong,” he said. “It just happened so quickly with 1,500 people down there. They came through. They snapped pictures. I came home. You know how fast social media moves. I put the pictures up. In retrospect, I should not have put it up. I did go on Facebook and I’ve apologized for that. I respect the outrage and I’m sorry for that.”

Nelson is running for New Haven mayor in the May 2019 election. He is also the current East Allen County Schools Board President.

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