Social media photos appear to show Arizona legislative candidate in blackface

Arizona’s Family reached out to Mendoza for comment but haven’t received a response.
Arizona’s Family reached out to Mendoza for comment but haven’t received a response.(Arizona's Family)
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 7:55 PM MST|Updated: Oct. 21, 2022 at 8:34 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Photos circulating on social media appear to show a Republican candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives wearing blackface and brownface.

The undated photos were posted on Twitter this week by a user claiming they show Mary Ann Mendoza, a candidate for Arizona’s 9th Legislative District. Mendoza did not respond to a phone call or email from Arizona’s Family on Friday seeking comment. The story was first reported by the Copper Courier.

Two photos seem to show Mendoza dressed as Aunt Jemima. Quaker Oats removed the character’s image from product packaging in 2020, saying the company recognized the character’s “origins are based on a racial stereotype.” A third photo appears to show Mendoza at a separate event dressed as Pocahontas. It is not clear when the photos were taken.

Mendoza’s Democratic opponents are calling on her to drop out of the race. “Frankly, it’s racist rhetoric that is very harmful to communities that reside right here in Mesa,” said Lorena Austin, Democratic candidate for Legislative District 9. “This community is diverse. It’s vibrant. It’s not racist. This is in no way representative of the way people in Mesa feel,” added Democratic candidate Seth Blattman.

Mendoza’s son was a police officer who was killed by an undocumented drunk driver, and Mendoza herself has made headlines before. In 2020, the Republican National Convention canceled her appearance after she promoted an anti-semitic Q-Anon conspiracy theory on Twitter. Mendoza apologized and said she did not read the entire thread she was retweeting.

“My apologies for not paying attention to the intent of the whole message,” Mendoza said in 2020. “That does not reflect my feelings or personal thoughts whatsoever.”