MD Club Won’t Host Blackface Routine To Raise Money For Accused Cops


A former Baltimore police officer plans to perform an Al Jolson routine in blackface to raise money for the six Baltimore officers who have been indicted in the death of Freddie Gray, the Associated Press reports. Bobby Berger, whose performances as Jolson created tension with the department in the 1980s, said 610 tickets have been sold in eight days at $45 each for the Nov. 1 fundraiser. The place where Berger intended to hold the event, Michael’s Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie, Md., posted a notice on its website that the fundraiser will not be hosted there. “No contract was signed with Mr. Berger,” the notice said. “Michael’s does not condone blackface performances of any kind.”

Berger said in an interview he doesn’t believe there is anything racist about his routine. “It’s coincidence,” Berger said about the fact that the entertainer he impersonates wore blackface. “There’s no racial overtones to this show. There’s nothing racial to the show.” Michael Davey, an attorney for the Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police, said officers do not support the fundraiser. Gray was black. He died of injuries received in police custody. Davey said no money would be accepted from the fundraiser. (The Baltimore Sun described the event as cancelled and said Berger had been fired from the city police force in the 1980s after his off-duty performances in blackface drew the ire of the NAACP.)

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