Young farmers sorry for ‘blacking-up’ at Tyrone drama event
The head of the Young Farmers' Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) has apologised on behalf of a Co Tyrone branch that posted photos of its members in 'blackface'.
The pictures were posted on the Cappagh Young Farmers' Facebook account last weekend and showed several participants posing with 'blacked-up' faces following their win at the Rosebowl competition.
The Ulster Herald reported that the Cappagh club deleted the picture from its social media account after being contacted for comment.
But YFCU chief executive Michael Reid confirmed he was aware of the incident, which was being taken "very seriously".
"We have been made aware of the use of blacked-out faces during the County Tyrone Rosebowl one act drama competition, which took place on Friday, April 26," Mr Reid said.
"The club in question accepts they made an error in judgement and have apologised profusely for any offence caused.
"The YFCU is committed to an agenda of equality and inclusion, and while the central organisation has no control, we take this issue very seriously."
However, last night, a separate post in which the drama group rejoiced in its success remained online.
"A fantastic performance was put on at the Rosebowl 2019 after weeks of hard work and practice," the post reads. "We as a club are absolutely buzzing to take home the Rosebowl Trophy for the fourth year in a row."
The popular event took place in Newtownstewart, attended by clubs from across the county.
The Facebook post also bragged about a young person being crowned the best senior actor and that the "victorious" group was hailed for providing the most memorable moment with its "Miss World 2019" sketch.
"We are extremely proud of the club and everyone who took part", it added. "Congratulations guys, well deserved."
The use of 'blackface' has sparked controversy over recent years, with critics branding it deeply offensive and racist.
Last Halloween a clip of a man who blackened his face and travelled on the London Underground sparked outrage.
At the time anti-racism charity Show Racism the Red Card said blackface costumes were rarely seen today because public attitudes have moved on from "crude caricatures of black people", which are typically considered unacceptable.
In 2014 Ulster Rugby apologised after Paddy Jackson, who was sacked after being acquitted of rape last year, shared a picture of himself and some of his team-mates wearing black make-up.
The club said the picture of him wearing what critics described as a "slave" costume had been taken from an "Olympic-themed fancy dress party" two years earlier.
The Cappagh Young Farmers' Club did not reply to a request for comment.