Additional photos of Westampton Township Committee candidate Karl Eversmeyer wearing blackface at a 2009 Halloween party surfaced Wednesday, calling into question his earlier defense of his actions.
Photos of Eversmeyer in black face while dressed as Kanye West had originally emerged Monday, igniting calls for his withdrawal from the November election and swaying the Burlington County GOP to pull its support for the Republican nominee. Eversmeyer denied any racist intent and said he and his wife dressed up as Kanye West and Taylor Swift as a tribute to the rapper and singer’s notorious falling out at the MTV Video Music Awards a month earlier.
On Wednesday, several more photos were released to the media from an email address associated with the Westampton Democrats. The release also included a screenshot of a Facebook post Eversmeyer made in June 2015, defending the Confederate flag.
The additional photos called Eversmeyer’s earlier defense — including that the party he attended was thrown by an African American friend — into question.
One photo, which he says was taken before or after the Halloween party, shows Eversmeyer dressed in blackface and sitting with three white friends.
“If I had known, if I was more educated — which I don’t think anyone was because my friends didn’t even know that this was an insensitive thing — I wouldn’t have done it,” Eversmeyer said.
Eversmeyer said similar things about his Facebook post defending the use of the Confederate flag.
“It wasn’t in our history books teaching us what we should and should not do,” said Eversmeyer, who grew up in Beverly, N.J., and moved to Westampton four years ago.
Still, the Republican nominee maintained he is not a racist.
“I’m not a racist so I’m not going to apologize for not being a racist. No matter what they say or what they do, I’m still not going to be a racist," he said, adding that he grew up with many African African friends.
“With African Americans, there’s less drama involved. They’re more straightforward than lots of other ethnicity and that’s why they were the majority of people I hung out with back then,” he said.
Carolyn Chang, who is African American and served on the committee for six years, said the photos have been “very upsetting to me and people who look like me.”
“I can understand if he’s going to take the position with the earlier pictures that he was young and didn’t understand,” said Chang, who was mayor of Westampton from 2013 to 2016. “But these new pictures raise even more of a question of whether he is appropriate to serve in a community as diverse as Westampton.”
The township of roughly 8,700 people, located about 24 miles outside of Philadelphia, is about 55% white, 22% black, 12% Hispanic, and 5% Asian.
Chang said that even if Eversmeyer’s black friends defended his actions, that doesn’t excuse him.
“There are people who look like me who also do not understand the significance of this historic racist hurtful behavior,” she said. “Mr. Eversmeyer truly doesn’t want to understand what he’s done.”