Florida secretary of state resigns after newspaper obtains photos of him in blackface

Newly minted Florida Secretary of State Michael Ertel resigned from his post on Thursday after a newspaper obtained photos of him posing as a "Hurricane Katrina victim" in blackface.

The Tallahassee Democrat obtained the photos and shared them with the governor's office Thursday, according to the paper. 

Hours later, the office said it had accepted Ertel's resignation. The secretary of state's office confirmed the resignation to The Hill, declining to comment on the photo.


"I am submitting my resignation as Florida secretary of state effective immediately," Ertel wrote in his letter, according to the Democrat. "It has been an honor to serve you and the voters of Florida."

The photo, according to the Democrat, was taken at a private Halloween party two months after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.

Taken in 2005, the photo shared by the Democrat shows Ertel in blackface and red lipstick. He is also wearing earrings, a New Orleans Saints bandana and a purple t-shirt that said "Katrina Victim," according to the paper. The photo was reportedly taken eight months after Ertel was appointed Seminole County supervisor of elections.

Ertel declined to comment to the Democrat on the record about the photo.

"There's nothing I can say," he said.

Ertel was named secretary of state by Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantis43 Florida ICUs at capacity as coronavirus cases surge Miami-Dade mayor reverses order; gyms to remain open Florida officials to review planned installation of statue of Confederate general MORE (R) on Dec. 28.