Republican candidate Robbie Gatti defends black face

(The Hayride)
(The Hayride)

Louisiana Republican candidate Robbie Gatti has defended his decision to attend a church event in blackface 15 years ago, to impersonate Tiger Woods.

According to Mic, Mr Gatti said he regretted the incident but said it was a ploy from the opposition to make him look bad.

"I dressed up as Tiger Woods, [he] was at the height of his success at the time," he said.

"He was the number one golfer in the world. This was before his troubles [with infidelity became public]."

Mr Gatti says he would never dress up like that again.

"I have too many black pastors that are friends," he said. "I am completely colour-blind. I don't have a racist bone in my body. In fact, I think some of those photos [from the party 15 years ago] were taken standing with African-American friends of mine, which is why I believe they are so tightly cropped."

He says he understands how it could be seen in a negative light by his black constituents.

"I would encourage them to reach out directly and [I'll] have breakfast with them. I'll meet with any one of them individually," he said.

"I just hope, since I'm a minister, that this incident wouldn't interfere with their relationship with Jesus Christ."