Honolulu Councilman Accused of Racism, Transphobia for Blackface in ‘America’s Next Top Model’ Skit

Augie Tulba

Social media users expressed concern after Filipino American Honolulu Council member Augie Tulba shared a video showing him in blackface in a parody of “America’s Next Top Model.”

Video resurfaces: The clip, which is more than 10 years old, was reshared by Tulba on Instagram over the weekend, according to KITV. The caption of his post read: “We laughed so hard filming this segment. #FunTimes.”

  • Although the parody no longer appears on his Instagram page, a copy was reposted on his Facebook account in 2019.
  • The video, titled “Hawaii’s Next Top Mahu,” was a skit for “The Augie Show.” Tulba played two characters in the parody: a contestant named Mo’Unique and a style guru named Jay Jay.

The backlash: Although some social media users called the post a “throwback,” others labeled it racist and transphobic, questioning why it was reposted during Pride Month, Honolulu Civil Beat reported.

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  • Michael Golojuch Jr., chair of the Stonewall Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, told KITV that Tulba must “take ownership” of the skit as he is now a member of the Honolulu City Council and no longer a comedian.
  • “He took the step of reposting it over the weekend shows he’s very proud of it and he has no problem with it without looking at its totality, in what has transpired,” Golojuch Jr. added.
  • Ken Lawson, a civil rights activist, said he supported Tulba’s run for the council seat but still found the skit offensive.

The explanation: While Tulba did not comment on the controversial skit, his management team explained that they regularly repost old content to promote Tulba and his show, AugieTV.

  • “This comedy skit was written, performed in, and endorsed by a trans sexual cast member of color nearly 15 years ago in a much different social climate,” the full statement reads. “As many in Hawaii know, Augie is not only a proud father of two openly gay men, but also deeply supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. He has worked hard for three decades to make people of all backgrounds laugh, just as he works hard today to keep his community safe, positive and healthy.”

Featured Image via @AugieT (left), @augiet (right)

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