Screenshots via The Louisiana Hayride

A shocking photo unearthed this week shows the frontrunner in a race for the Louisiana House of Representatives wearing blackface, apparently as part of a Tiger Woods Halloween costume.

The photo provided to the conservative Louisiana politics site The Hayride shows Robbie Gatti, a candidate for the 8th District, with his face and neck shiny with pitch-black paint, smiling, and wearing a homemade Nike hat. (The hat's logo is turned the wrong way.)

Advertisement

The source who provided the photo told the Hayride Gatti was with members of the First Baptist Church, where he used to be a pastor, when it was taken.

A statement posted to the Gatti campaign's Facebook page seemed to confirm both the authenticity of the photo and that the Gatti was, indeed, trying to impersonate Tiger Woods. The candidate also said that the picture was taken 15 years ago, decried the "political mud" being slung at him, and rationalized that Tiger Woods was very popular at the time.

Here's the full statement:

15 years ago, my church held a fall festival, where all the volunteers were told to dress as a famous person. Tiger Woods was at the height of his popularity, as a world champion, and that was who I was dressed as. Shortly after this event, I was ordained into the church. As a medical professional, ordained minister and military officer, I live my life seeing only character and I stand by that. I'm sad that my opponents have taken a good night at church and turned it into negative, political mud, but I'm confident the voters of Bossier will not fall for their desperate attacks.