Florida Secretary of State Michael Ertel Quits Over Photos of Him in Blackface Costume
The Republican official wore blackface, lipstick, and fake breasts to mock Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005.
Florida’s secretary of state resigned Thursday after photographs were unearthed of him dressed in blackface.
The images in question, obtained by The Tallahassee Democrat, show Sec. Michael Ertel dressed for a Halloween party in blackface makeup, red lipstick, earrings, a New Orleans Saints headwrap, and fake breasts. Ertel wore a purple t-shirt with the words “Katrina Victim” written on it. The photos were reportedly taken in 2005, only a few months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans.
“There’s nothing I can say,” Ertel told the Democrat last week, upon being confronted with the photos. The newspaper reportedly approached the governor’s office on Thursday morning with the photographs, and by the afternoon, the office announced that Ertel had resigned.
Ertel only took office on Jan. 8, after being appointed by newly elected Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Eight months before the photos were taken, Ertel was named supervisor of elections for Seminole County by then-Gov. Jeb Bush.
According to the newspaper, Gov. DeSantis picked Ertel as secretary of state in late December for what the Democrat described as a “record of increasing voter registration and making the elections office more accessible to the public.”