Three White students at Waverly High School in Waverly, New York allegedly wore blackface as they parodied the 2009 domestic violence incident between Chris Brown and Rihanna at a pep rally last Friday, according to a CNN iReport.
The incident has been deemed racist and insensitive by many in attendance. The story originated from an ireporter who goes by the handle of mjdishler. His real name is Matt Dishler, a 2006 graduate of the high school.
He was not at the pep rally but heard about it through friends. He also got a photo of the alleged blackface skit via Facebook, according to a producer’s note in the ireport.
According to Dishler’s account, the rally started off well until three White students in blackface performed a skit that satirized Chris Brown’s infamous attack against Rihanna. Faculty, administrators, parents and community leaders were in attendance, but no one stopped the offensive performance, according to the ireport.
“I used to be so proud of where I came from,” Waverly alumna Hannah Van Wie-Desisti is quoted as saying in the report. “Not so much now due to the recent incident. I found it unfathomable that the faculty would not only approve this idea for the skit in the first place, but allow it to go on during the pep rally.”
It is not clear whether Wie-Desisti was at the pep rally or simply interviewed to give her thoughts on what occurred. NewsOne reached out to all of the named sources in the report–including Dishler–but did not get responses by press time.
Waverly School District Joseph Yelich told the Star Gazette that he has received complaints about the incident all weekend.
“The Waverly School District is committed to creating a positive atmosphere through our activities,” Yelich said in a statement. “I will be working with our building administrators, our staff and our students to examine our current activities and develop future activities consistent with our commitment. Ultimately, our administrators are going to need to meet with the whole student body to set clear expectations for our behavior and the impact it has on all people.”
Though, according to one alum, it does not seem like this is the first time the school has been accused of hosting racist activities.
“I think it’s unconscionable that such blatant racism has been tacitly approved two years in a row,” Waverly alum Vlad Chituc is quoted as saying in the ireport. “The administration should be creating an environment where minorities are welcome, not the butts of racist jokes that make light of domestic violence.”
Yelich says he did not know about the skit.
Dishler’s Facebook page is full of reposts of his ireport story where he describes the reported skit as “blatant racism.” But he is apparently coming under fire for it because he posted this message on his wall on Monday:
So let me be clear here. I am coming under fire a bit here for a piece I wrote. Let me be clear: Domestic violence is not a joke for school. Ever. Do they do it on TV? Yes. Know what else they do on TV? Eat maggots, talk openly about their sex lives, use profane language, show drinking, smoking, a litany of other offenses. If your justification for why it wasn’t wrong is because it is “on TV” or is a personal attack against me, you need to grow up. And I am not trying to target the children. The fact that at 24 years old I have enough sense to know that that is not a proper thing to do in a school and administrators let this go is the problem. Of course the kids think it is ok. The ones who should be telling them it (are) not aren’t doing anything about it.
As of 2:22 p.m., no video of the skit can be found on YouTube and a Google search does not produce any footage of the offensive act, either. Yelich did not specify what actions would be taken, if any, as a result of Friday’s incident.
Please come back to NewsOne for updates on this story.