Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D) on Wednesday condemned two men who wore blackface while marching in the city’s annual Mummers Parade on New Year's Day.
“The use of blackface by someone affiliated with Froggy Carr today was abhorrent and unacceptable,” Kenney wrote on Twitter. “This selfish, hateful behavior has no place in the Mummers, or the city itself. We must be better than this. The group was disqualified and we will be exploring additional penalties.”
The use of blackface by someone affiliated with Froggy Carr today was abhorrent and unacceptable. This selfish, hateful behavior has no place in the Mummers, or the city itself. We must be better than this. The group was disqualified and we will be exploring additional penalties.— Jim Kenney (@PhillyMayor) January 1, 2020
City staffers watching the festivities spotted the participants in blackface amidst a sea of orange and black costumes honoring the Flyers mascot Gritty.
Froggy Carr was removed from the parade competition, according to CBS Philadelphia.
The men, identified as Kevin Kinkel and Mike Tomaszwski, defended themselves in an interview with the outlet, and denied that blackface is racist.
“Cause I like it. Yeah, why not? I know it’s a shame to be white in Philly right now. It’s a shame,” Tomaszwski said when asked why he wore blackface.
Kinkel added that “it has nothing to do with being racist to the black person or the white person or the yellow person. It’s our tradition.”
In an additional interview with NBC 10 Philadelphia, Kinkel added that he was wearing blackface to honor a deceased friend.
"I don’t do this a lot. My friend, he passed away. He wore blackface, so I’m doing this for him," he said. "I’ll be done with it after this year. But we ain’t racist and we don’t look for trouble."
The annual Mummers parade, which draws out thousands of spectators, features colorful costumes and musical acts. However, it has been marred by controversy in recent years for acts considered racist and homophobic, according to the local outlets.
Last year, a skit depicted Kenney being led on a leash by an actor pretending to be Jay-Z.
In 2016, one group made fun of transgender Olympic medalist Caitlyn Jenner. Another group of comics wore brown faces and dressed in sombreros and ponchos.