A councillor has apologised after being accused of racism for putting a blackface video up on social media
Councillor Keith Jenkins posted the video on his Facebook profile which was then shared.
The politician, who represents the Redhill ward, admits he put the Tik Tok video on his profile page himself on June 18 and said he was ‘mortified’ over the incident.
Cllr Jenkins said he’d posted the video before a racist message was put on it referring to England players Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, and Jadon Sancho who were all targeted with racist posts after they missed in the Euro 2020 final’s penalty shootout.
The video shows a man dip his head in a bag of black powder, which then covers his face. Laughing can also be heard in the background, reports ChronicleLive.
A written caption on the clip reads: “New BLM tutorial for England players”, believed to be a reference to the Black Lives Matter movement within football, which has seen Gareth Southgate’s team take the knee before each game as a stand against racism.
Weeks after the offensive video was shared from his account, Cllr Jenkins changed his profile picture to one which displayed the words “UK against racism”.
Responding to suggestions that the video was racist, Cllr Jenkins claims when he shared the video the writing wasn’t on it.
He said: “That writing was not on that video. It was shared in jest.
“I’m mortified that was on there but 100 per cent that was not on the TikTok video when I shared it. I’m mortified that was on there, I will take it down. I have never been a racist.”
When asked whether, even without the writing, the video was bad enough, he said: “You have got to have a laugh at times, I share a lot of videos on my social media. I laughed at it, I laugh at a lot of things however since then it’s been updated.”
Cllr Jenkins fiercely denied he was racist and apologised for any offence caused.
He said: “If people think I’m a racist my daughter was going out with a Muslim. I’m not a racist, everybody who knows me knows I’m not a racist. I whole-heartedly apologise for offending anyone.”
It comes after England players Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, and Jadon Sancho were all targeted with racist posts after they missed in the Euro 2020 final’s penalty shootout.
Gareth Southgate described the hate directed at the players as “unforgivable”, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson told those responsible to “crawl back under the rock from which you emerged”.
Cllr Jenkins condemned the racial abuse players have been subjected to and said everyone should have a photo ID if they want a social media account.
He said: “The best thing to do is if you have a social media account you should have a photo ID in case you break the rules, simple as that. Everybody should have a photo ID if you want to go on Facebook or Instagram.
He added that those sharing offensive hate speech online “should be dragged over the coals and for it to be dealt with severely”.
A spokesperson for Sunderland City Council said: “All councillors are required to comply with a code of conduct which sets out standards of behaviour.
“Procedures are in place for any alleged breaches of this code to be considered by the City Council’s Standards Committee. It is not appropriate to comment further on the matter.”