Yesterday, Assemblyman Dov Hikind apologized for appearing in blackface as part of a Purim costume. But "sorry if you're offended"—followed by "is it okay if I play a gay person?"—isn't doing much to calm the outrage, and today a number of elected officials and African American community leaders spoke out against Hikind at a press conference at City Hall, calling his actions "arrogant," "degrading," "shameful" and an attack on the dignity of the African-American people.

The presser—which included a cameo by Mayor Bloomberg—was spearheaded by Assemblywoman Inez Barron, who opened by criticizing Hikind for his history of promoting tepid race relations (notably, Hikind's been a vocal supporter of racial and ethnic profiling in the past). "Dov Hikind's latest antic is another reveal of who Dov Hikind really is," Barron said. "His assertion that he did not know that appearing in blackface is offensive to black people is incredulous... Mr. Hikind, your egregious behavior is shameful, degrading, unacceptable and unworthy of a leadership position."

And Barron's husband, City Councilman Charles Barron, took it a step farther, calling on Gov. Cuomo and Speaker Sheldon Silver to remove Hikind from his position as Assistant Majority Leader. "His inability to repent, to generally repent and 'get it,' is another problem," Barron said. "The governor needs to say something, and we need to go beyond condemnation verbally."

Local community leaders also denounced Hikind, saying the costume was more than just an offense. "The NAACP...fought against 'blackface' in the '20s and '30s. For an elected public official to feel comfortable not only dressing in blackface but defending his actions is an outrage that says to me that the dignity of African-American people is under attack," declared Reverend Conrad Tillard, a minister at the Nazarene Congregational Church of Christ in Bedford-Stuyvesant. "As a clergyperson, I am here to say that we will defend our dignity. We will not allow public officials, corporations or anyone else to demean or deprive us of the dignity that we deserve."

Meanwhile, Hikind's costume choice has been censured by a number of local politicians and civil rights leaders, including Silver, Anti-Defamation League director Abe Foxman and even Hikind supporter Marty Markowitz. Another Hikind critic? Mayor Bloomberg, who made an unintended cameo appearance at today's press conference; as he made his way into City Hall, Councilman Barron asked Bloomberg for his take on the scandal. Hizzoner replied, "This time, we agree."