RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Former Balliceaux music booker Chris Bopst expressed deep regret Monday night after setting the internet on fire over the weekend.
The backlash came almost immediately after Bopst posted a selfie on Facebook showing him in blackface, part of a costume that evokes a black minstrel show. He took the photo at a Halloween party at Balliceaux, writing “I am pretty” as a caption.
“I just took a picture with that on my mind. In my mind, obviously, it’s not pretty. It’s one of the worst stereotypes in America,” Bopst said.
“I’ve upset a lot of people,” added the founding member of Richmond-based metal band Gwar. “I’m delirious with shame and disgust over my actions.”
Bopst told 8News that he initially did not give much thought to the repercussions of his costume choice. “It crossed my mind, definitely,” he said.
For the past eight years, Bopst said he has painted his face with clown makeup, only this year, he ran out of white paint and used black on his face instead.
“I wasn’t thinking,” he said. “Really, truly I was just going. I had to get to work.”
“The photo looked like a 1920’s cartoon character,” said King Salim Khalfani, director of the Richmond Chapter of Americans Resisting Minority & Ethnic Discrimination.
Bopst told 8News he threw the costume together in less than an hour, now wishing he would have taken the time to think it over.
Even though Bopst has resigned from his position at Balliceaux and the restaurant’s management has apologized, Khalfani and others remain disturbed by the events.
“We don’t buy [Balliceaux’s apology] because someone had to see him. Your supervisors know when you’re there. At a party like, that people are looking. Apology not accepted,” said Khalfani.
Bopst, unsure of his future, told 8News he is deeply sorry for the pain his costume may have caused.
“That’s not an issue you can toy with, because it’s a very real pain to people to this day.”