Governor Ivey responds to calls for resignation after blackface controversy

Updated: Aug. 29, 2019 at 10:30 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -Some state lawmakers are calling on Governor Kay Ivey to step down after a radio interview from 1967 surfaced Thursday where Ivey’s then fiancé described Ivey was wearing blackface during a college sorority skit at Auburn University.

Late Thursday evening, Governor Ivey’s office said she is not stepping down.

“The governor’s commitment to serve the state is unchanged and unwavering,” Gina Maiola, Ivey’s press secretary said.

Birmingham State Representative Juandalynn Givan says Ivey needs to resign.

"In the words of Dr. Maya Angelou, when people show you who they are, believe them,” Givan said. "I believe that Governor Kay Ivey or Kay Ivey should I say showed us who she was 52 years ago and I think that she is still that person that put on blackface."

Senate Minority leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, says Ivey called him this morning. He wants to continue working with her "When she talked to me, the person that I know who she is now, I felt that her apology was sincere,” Singleton said. Singleton told the governor that going forward he hopes this will be a teachable moment "And that we can start some dialogue on race in this state and I think that’s something that needs to happen,” Singleton said.

"While we have come a long way, we still have a long way to go specifically in the areas of racial tolerance and mutual respect,” Ivey said in a video message released by her office. In a statement, Ivey says she doesn't remember the skit. That's something Givan has a hard time believing.

“I think that she’s very knowledgeable of what may or may not have happened…maybe not the extend she remembers everything. She remembered that she was the SGA vice president. She remembered she was a part of that sorority. So you mean to tell me she can’t remember that at some point, she dressed up in blackface?” Givan said.

In a statement, State Senator Del Marsh, Senate President Pro Tempore says:

“Governor Ivey has expressed her deepest apologies for this incident. I have worked with her in various capacities over the previous decade and I know that today she is not a person who would participate in something like that. I hope we as a state can put this behind us.”

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