Joy Behar faces backlash over old 'African woman' Halloween costume

An old photo of Joy Behar dressed as a “beautiful African woman” on Halloween has resurfaced.

Behar showed the photo on The View in 2016 during a segment talking about the resurgence of natural hair. Asked how old she was in the photo, she replied, “I was 29. It was a Halloween party. I went as a beautiful African woman.”

Behar’s former co-host Raven-Symoné had a lot of questions about the photo. She asked, “Are you black, Joy?” followed by, “Are you my auntie, Joy?” After Behar explained it was a costume, Raven-Symoné wanted to know if she had applied “tanning lotion” to her skin.

“I had makeup that was a little bit darker than my skin,” Behar, now 76, replied. The curly hair was all her own.

Joy Behar has been on <em>The View</em> since 1997. (Photo: Getty Images)
Joy Behar has been on The View since 1997. (Photo: Getty Images)
Joy Behar shared this photo — of herself dressed as an African woman for Halloween — on <em>The View</em> in 2016. (Image: The View)
Joy Behar shared this photo — of herself dressed as an African woman for Halloween — on The View in 2016. (Image: The View)

The old segment has reemerged as controversy swirls over the use of blackface by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. On Friday, Northam apologized after a photo on his 1984 medical school yearbook page showed one man in blackface and another in a KKK robe. The Democratic leader later said he was not in the photo and hadn’t seen it before. He then admitted he did once use shoe polish to darken his skin to resemble Michael Jackson for a dance contest in 1984. That was followed by the state’s Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring, who had called on Northam to resign, putting out a statement Wednesday admitting that he also wore blackface in college.

In October, Today show personality Megyn Kelly was axed by NBC after she defended people wearing blackface on a segment about Halloween. She said that growing up, it was considered a tribute. She said she didn’t understand the controversy over Real Housewives of New York City’s Luann de Lesseps, who wore a huge afro and darkened her skin to dress as Diana Ross for Halloween in 2017. “I thought, like, who doesn’t love Diana Ross?” said Kelly. “She wants to look like Diana Ross for one day, and I don’t know how that got racist on Halloween.”

De Lesseps publicly apologized for her costume.

Needless to say, Behar’s costume isn’t sitting well on Twitter today. Conservative blogger Matt Walsh wrote, “Megyn Kelly was fired from her show for asking a hypothetical question about blackface. Joy Behar actually wore blackface, and admitted it, and showed a picture of it on TV, yet she still has her job.”

Many commented that Behar will “get a pass” because she’s a liberal. “Can you imagine if a photo surfaced of @SeanHannity in blackface from a Halloween party years ago?” wrote one person. “Then, when asked about it, he justified it by saying he dressed up as ‘a handsome African man’ and his blackface makeup ‘wasn’t too dark’? That’s exactly what Joy Behar did.”

However, she certainly has defenders. Some are calling it a “non-controversy” and saying that Trump supporters must not know “what blackface is.” One defender wrote, “Joy Behar means damn well and we should know this.”

A rep for The View hasn’t commented on the new controversy, but it seems likely Behar will address it on the show.

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