Dressing up in blackface or as Bill Cosby is never a good idea, at Halloween or any time of the year, as University of Central Arkansas student, Charles “Brock” Denton found out, when he got expelled from college. He had been a member of the Sigma Tau Gamma frat. The fraternity chapter also was suspended in the wake of Denton’s posting a photo of himself in blackface as Bill Cosby on his Instagram account.
The New York Daily News reported that Brock Denton, who is a sophomore, has said online that he is scared for his life. He claims people have posted death threats for his having dressed up in blackface as Bill Cosby. Last week, Denton posted the controversial photo of himself in blackface and dressed in a sweater similar in style to ones that Cosby wore on The Bill Cosby Show to his Instagram account. The photo, reportedly taken at the frat’s Halloween party last Friday night, shows Denton standing alongside two other white men, with what appears to be alcoholic beverages in their hands.
Denton captioned the Instagram photo with the comment, “It was a bold night.” The Daily Mail reported that the fraternity chapter asked Denton to wash the blackface make-up off of “his face when he arrived, and he complied.” The photo of Denton in blackface as Bill Cosby, though, was taken before he cleaned the make-up off.
The University of Central Arkansas expelled Denton when they found out about the photo, and the New York Daily News reported that the campus’ Sigma Tau Gamma chapter was suspended “pending an investigation into the post.” Also, according to the Daily Mail, “UCA’s Interfraternity Council has ‘disowned’ the chapter.”
In a statement, University of Central Arkansas President Tom Courtway called the photo of Denton in blackface as Bill Cosby “highly offensive and repugnant.” He added that the “representation” in the photo “goes against all we, at UCA believe in and stand for.”
According to KGO-TV, Courtway also stated, “We strive each day to be welcoming, inclusive and diverse, and will always continue to do so. The matter will be investigated by the appropriate University offices, and we can assure the UCA family and all others that it will (be) dealt with accordingly.”
KGO-TV reported that a tweet from the University of Central Arkansas summed up how the entire situation was dealt with by saying, “The frat suspended, student expelled from fraternity after photo shows him in blackface at party.”
Besides the University of Central Arkansas expelling Denton, the national Sigma Tau Gamma organization said it “condemns” the photo and it will also expel him. According to the New York Daily News, Denton asked for forgiveness in a lengthy Instagram post, following his expulsion.
Denton wrote that besides the death threats he has been sent, there have also been threats to burn his house down. He wrote, “I am scared for my life.” According to the Daily Mail, Denton wrote, “I swear to everyone that I have never stereotyped a person based on how they look. It’s not me.” He wrote that he hoped “this situation will end without me being killed over a Halloween costume.”
In the Instagram post, Denton wrote that he was “the farthest thing from discrimination.” The New York Daily News reported that he added, “I fight for equality everyday.” He wrote that he has “been writing a book for the past two years on what it really means to be a good person,” and asked for the University of Central Arkansas to “except” his apology, “not because of me but because of the sake of this great nation (sic).” According to the New York Daily News, “Denton has since deleted his Instagram page.”
A student who attended the University of Central Arkansas was expelled from both the college and the Sigma Tau Gamma frat he had been a member of when he showed up at a Halloween party last Friday in blackface as Bill Cosby. The fraternity chapter has also been suspended pending an investigation by the university and the chapter has been disowned by UCA’s Interfraternity Counci.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy Instagram