Music Promoter In Black Face, Hot Water

Chris Bopst, a founding member of Gwar and a music promoter at a restaurant in Richmond, Va., found himself in a firestorm after a Halloween party where he put black makeup on his face.  

Bopst, who has booked bands at the Balliceaux restaurant in the city’s Fan District and is a former music column freelancer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, posted a photo on Facebook showing him in black makeup with white lip and a bow tie on his head the night he went to a Halloween party at the restaurant.

Bopst claims he has dressed as a clown for the past eight Halloweens but this time ran out of white paint and used black instead. The backlash was immediate, including apparent death threats. “I wasn’t thinking,” he told WRIC-TV. “Really, truly I was just going. I had to get to work.”

However, Bopst also said in a Facebook post Oct. 31 that he wore the costume to be thought-provoking and funny.

“It wasn’t until I woke up Sunday morning that I realized how seriously wrong I was,” Bopst wrote. “Since then, I’ve experienced an acute moral revulsion with myself that I can’t accurately describe. It’s a queasy sickness; an all-composing (sic) sense of regret twisting and turning in my stomach. “All I know is that I deserve it.”

Bopst said he voluntarily resigned his position at the restaurant to keep it from being associated with his actions. Both had posted apologies online Oct. 30, then removed them, according to the Times-Dispatch.

The restaurant owner said Bopst was working in a dimly lit area and his makeup probably went unnoticed and, “If it had been brought to our attention, we definitely would have asked him to leave.” Meanwhile, the restaurant has received one-star reviews on Yelp and community leaders have accepted neither Bopst’s nor the restaurant’s apologies.