You know this scandal by now: the one with the powerful man, and the unearthed yearbook page, and the wave of outrage that follows. This time, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is cornered.
On Friday afternoon, Northam’s 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page surfaced online, and showed—right there below his name—a photo of two people: one man in blackface, standing next to a person in the standard uniform of the Ku Klux Klan, complete with a pointy white hood. The people are holding beers. They appear to be at a costume party.
Northam, a Democrat, has been called on to resign by members of both parties and several 2020 presidential candidates. Over the past 24 hours, the governor’s explanations for the photo and his own history of wearing blackface have shifted significantly. He first apologized, then said he wasn’t one of the men in the photo, then added that he once wore shoe polish to dress up as Michael Jackson, and so far is refusing to step down. After first declining to identify which man in the photo was him, he now feels sure that neither is, and that the photo appeared on his page only because of an error in yearbook production.
There’s more. In a press conference, after telling reporters about his Michael Jackson costume, Northam nearly moonwalked right there on the stage, as though to emphasize that it had all been intended in jest. His wife managed to stop him.