A man wearing “blackface” on the London Underground has sparked outrage after a clip emerged of the passenger defending himself.
The footage, which has since gone viral on Twitter, shows a female passenger calling the unidentified man out, telling him: “It’s a bit racist that you put black makeup on”.
The male passenger shrugs in response and asks: “why not?”
The short clip was posted on Twitter on 27 October alongside the caption: “It’s 2018? How is this still happening?” However, it has since been deleted and the account appears to have been deactivated.
“His shrug of the shoulders and utter nonchalance with the woman next to him looking bemused is probably the most scary [sic] thing about this video,” wrote one person in response to the clip.
“It’s not the fact that he is dressed up as someone black, it’s the fact he painted his face black,” another added.
“Blackface was always used (by white people) as something negative. They would exaggerate our features and make fun of us. Dressing up, fine. Blackface, never acceptable.”
In the original tweet, the person described the man’s attitude as “particularly concerning” considering the recent controversies surrounding NBC host Megyn Kelly, whose namesake programme was cancelled after her comments about Halloween blackface costumes.
The TV presenter fronted a segment in which she asked why blackface was an unacceptable choice of costume.
The 47-year-old has since apologised in a memo distributed to NBC employees, saying “I’ve never been a ‘PC’ kind of person, but I understand that we do need to be more sensitive in this day and age.”
Speaking to The Independent, a spokesperson for anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card explains that blackface costumes are rarely seen today.
“This demonstrates that public attitudes have long since moved on and that crude caricatures of black people are typically considered unacceptable in modern day Britain,” they said.
“In 2018, it is the consequences of the practice rather than the intention that is relevant; what does blackface say to people, and young people particularly about the acceptance and normality of different skin colours in society?”