USA Today editor-in-chief Nicole Carroll apologized on Wednesday for her role in editing the 1988-89 Arizona State University yearbook, which included two images of people dressed in blackface.
“The 1988-89 yearbook I edited at Arizona State University included a photo of two people at a Halloween party dressed as Mike Tyson and Robin Givens. It is horrible, and of course the photo should not have been published,” wrote Carroll to the paper’s website. “I am sorry for the hurt I caused back then and the hurt it will cause today.”
“The image was discovered as part of a USA Today Network review of yearbooks from that time. I was shocked as I had no memory of that photo,” she continued. “I want to apologize publicly. As journalists, we must hold ourselves accountable as we do others, and it is important to call myself out for this poor judgment.”
Carroll then spoke for several paragraphs more about her commitment to newsroom diversity.
The post was the latest in a long series of blackface related scandals to rock Black History Month in 2019. Brands like Gucci and Burberry have been forced to apologize for racially insensitive clothing designs. A Katy Perry shoe design was also yanked. “The View” co-host Joy Behar came in for heat after an old photo of her dressed as a “beautiful African woman” began making the rounds.
The string of blackface related scandals began in Virginia after the state’s Democratic governor Ralph Northam was forced to confront a photo of two people — one in blackface and one dressed as a Ku Klux Klan member — in his old medical school yearbook from 1984.
Northam originally apologized and admitted he was in the image before later backtracking. He has refused to resign. A subsequent investigation later compromised his top officials as well, with his lieutenant governor Justin Fairfax facing multiple allegations of sexual assault (which he has denied) and the state’s attorney general Mark Herring also admitting to wearing blackface in the past.