Fla. Secretary of State Resigns Over Blackface 'Katrina Victim' Photo - NBC New York
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Fla. Secretary of State Resigns Over Blackface 'Katrina Victim' Photo

Florida Gov. DeSantis said Ertel regretted dressing up in blackface, but he said that he was right to step down after the pictures emerged

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    Fla. Secretary of State Resigns Over Blackface 'Katrina Victim' Photo
    State of Florida
    Michael Ertel

    Florida Secretary of State Michael Ertel resigned Thursday after photos surfaced showing him in blackface dressed as a Hurricane Katrina victim at a Halloween party in 2005.

    Gov. Ron DeSantis accepted Ertel's resignation after the photos were shown to his office by the Tallahassee Democrat, the paper reported.

    "I am submitting my resignation as Florida secretary of state effective immediately," Ertel wrote in an email. "It has been an honor to serve you and the voters of Florida."

    Ertel was appointed Florida's Secretary of State less than a month ago by DeSantis. He previously served as Seminole County elections supervisor.

    The newspaper texted the photos to Ertel last week, and he confirmed he was the man wearing blackface with red lipstick, a New Orleans Saints bandanna, and a purple T-shirt that had "Katrina Victim" written on it. Reached by the paper, Ertel said he wouldn't comment on the photos.

    The photos were taken eight months after Ertel was appointed to the position in Seminole County and two months after Katrina devastated New Orleans.

    DeSantis said Ertel regretted dressing up in blackface, but he said that he was right to step down after the pictures emerged.

    "I want people to be able to lead and not have any of these things swirling around," said DeSantis, who was in Marianna to discuss hurricane relief efforts for areas hit hard by Hurricane Michael in October.

    During his campaign for governor, DeSantis came under fire from Democrats who said he made racially divisive comments about Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.