RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. apologized Monday for a tweet that included a racist photo that appeared on Gov. Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook page decades ago.
Falwell said his effort to make a political point had been offensive.
Falwell said he had deleted the tweet and apologized for any hurt that it may have caused, especially among African Americans. Falwell’s apology comes after nearly three dozen black alumni denounced him last week, writing in a letter that his rhetoric has “repeatedly violated and misrepresented” Christian principles.
In late May, Falwell tweeted his opposition to a mask mandate from Gov. Ralph Northam in order to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, AP reports.
Falwell tweeted that he was “adamantly opposed” to the mask mandate “until I decided to design my own.” With it, he posted a picture of a mask bearing a racist photo that appeared on Northam’s medical yearbook page and — when made public last year — sparked a scandal that nearly forced him from office. The photo showed a person in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan costume.