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March 9, 2014

Lexington, Ky., pastor apologizes for blackface skit at church

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A Lexington, Ky., pastor apologized yesterday to people who were offended by a white man performing in blackface as part of a skit at the church.

Pastor Jeff Fugate of Clays Mill Road Baptist Church said he’d gotten at least a dozen messages from people upset by the performance.

The skits were part of the National Young Fundamentalists Conference held at the church Wednesday through Friday.

The conference, for teens in 7th through 12th grades, had about 1,000 attendees from a dozen states. It is held in cooperation with Commonwealth Baptist College, of which Fugate is president.

Fugate said he did not know in advance that his personal assistant, Joseph Pickens, would perform in blackface. He said Pickens appeared in blackface on two separate occasions as part of a skit involving a boxing match pitting him as Mr. T against someone portraying Curly of the Three Stooges.

Fugate apologized to anyone offended by that.

“I wouldn’t offend a black person for the world,” he said. “I sure am sorry.”

“Somebody’s trying to say I’m a racist, but that’s the last thing I am.”

Fugate said the church’s bus ministry picks up about 800 children for church each week, and he estimated that half of them are black. He said the Three Stooges bit is a tradition with the conference.

“It’s always silly,” he said.

He said Clays Mill streamed the event online for people who weren’t able to attend in person.

“That’s why the whole world saw it,” Fugate said.

A YouTube video showing the skit appeared Friday on StuffFundiesLike.com, which bills itself as a humor site aimed at “Independent Fundamental Baptists.”

In addition to being shared on social media, the story was picked up and linked to on Fark.com and Dailymail.co.uk.

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