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Nancy Smith

On Anthony Sabatini, Democrats Are Laughable

February 13, 2019 - 9:00am

A couple of high school buddies -- one white, one black -- dress up as each other in stereotypical attire for homecoming. They're immature, inappropriate showoffs looking for a laugh. 

I'm sorry, but that's what kids do. Dumb, inappropriate things. Sometimes things that don't make their mothers proud. Especially teenage boys who mature slower than girls.

Nevertheless, a decade-and-a-half after that foolish homecoming stunt, the Florida Democratic Party -- never ones to miss a political opportunity -- want Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Eustis, the white boy grown up, to resign because he had blacked his face that sophomore year.

Think of how crazy it sounds. It's truly laughable, racial politics gone wild.

If ever the punishment didn't fit the crime ...

Anthony Sabatini in blackface in high school


"In calling out racist behavior, Florida Democrats and Republicans should stand united," FDP Chair Terrie Rizzo exclaimed in a statement last week. She wanted Gov. Ron DeSantis and House Speaker Jose Oliva to make it happen. Get Sabatini out.

Of course, the indignant-est Democrat of all was Cynthia Brown, the candidate Sabatini walloped by 13 percentage points last election. She called Sabatini's behavior “mean, cruel and unacceptable for anyone,” particularly an elected official.

In a separate social media post Brown addressed Sabatini directly. "Anthony, you cannot represent ALL of the people of our district, just as the Florida Secretary of State decided he couldn’t,” she wrote. "Do what is right for once, step down and resign."
How many high school boys with a fully developed sensitivity filter do you know?   

When I was a kid, adults who should have known better actually encouraged dopey, tasteless behavior. Which I consider worse than Sabatini and his friend Brandon Evans' stunt. I remember what a kick our high school football coaches got out of helping the boys football team dress up as girl cheerleaders -- complete with long hair, exaggerated lipstick, pillow boobs and short skirts -- so they could dance can-can-style in our end-of-year pageant. Every year this went on. It was the 1984 film "Revenge of the Nerds," but for real.

Pure mysogyny. We could've used the Democrats' outrage then. But it was AWOL.

Sabatini didn't laugh off what he did in 2004. But he put it in the right perspective.

“I’m 16 years old," he said in an interview with The Orlando Sentinel. "One of my best friends of the time was black, and we thought at the time -- looking back, it was immature -- it would be funny to dress as each other. He dressed in my clothes -- a Ralph Lauren polo shirt, shorts, Converse -- and I dressed in his clothing ... None of us thought 14 years later any of us would be a public figure and the photo would be decontextualized."

Brandon Evans, Sabatini's African-American friend, told the newspaper, “Every year at high school homecoming week, we had things like ‘80s day and celebrity days. We said, ‘I’m going to be you and you’re going to be me.’ I don’t know how it got to be seen as racial. That’s all it was.”

Again, these two were friends. Where do we see anything malicious in their poor judgment? It seems to me, their behavior was aimed more at misguidedly exploring their differences for laughs than it was at demeaning anybody's dignity.

The Democrats are crying wolf. Resign for racism? Really, Terrie?

There's plenty of real racism to call out in the Sunshine State. We don't need far-fetched faux outrage and hyped political rhetoric to distract us from keeping our eye on the ball. 

And most of us will be luckier than Sabatini. We're unlikely ever to be  asked to explain the inappropriate, insensitive, dumb-as-rocks stuff we pulled as kids. 

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith


First: it was “celebrity day” at school. He dressed in a “doo rag,” gold chains, and the picture (which has been cropped) shows him making a gang sign. The explanation that he dressed as his “ friend,” is just a lie. Second: he shows up on Cinco De Mayo dresses as the stereotypical “Mexican,” unibrow, sombrero, poncho, etc. He was the only person dressed like that at school. He says it was a “spirit day.” That is a lie. He drsssed like that because, racism is funny to him. Third: when he became a Eustis City Council member he tweeted,within days of Charlottesville, that if any city didn’t want their confederate “ hero” statutes, just send them to Eustis. He would make sure they were preserved. Fourth: when a high-ranking Lake County Republican posted a openly racist meme supporting Roseanne Barr’s tweet, which showed a picture of a “Planet of the Apes” character next to a picture of Valerie Jarrett with the quote, “The problem with Roseanne is?” , Anthony Sabatini “liked” the post. His excuse that he didn’t read the post before “liking” it has absolutely no merit. The things he has done since he was a “stupid highschool kid” are proof positive that this guy is a racist and continues to be one. There is no place for him in Florida government. Kick him out!!!

God bless those folks who see racism where it doesn't exist, fabricate it when they can't find it and ignore it within their own ranks.

Florida Democrats went from mindless race baiting during the 2018 midterm elections to complaining no blacks were considered for the 3 open positions on the Florida Supreme Court to this debacle. And the beat goes on.

Democrats are scary, vicious (but impotent) people who have publically "come out of their closets" to provide unintended "comic relief" to their intendedly venomous attacks upon anyone focusing on their collective idiocy; they are quickly following the demise of the old "Whig Political Party",... and in a suicidal, self-consuming manner.

The people constantly screaming 'racism' are often the most racist of all.

One time when I was about 15 years old, I fell off of an ATV into a bunch of mud that I was driving through. Looking back, boy am I lucky no one had a camera at that moment.

Nancy Smith . . . you are such an a-hole, embarrassing yourself with your hatred to anyone who is not white and protestant. Why don't you have coffee, sometime with black and brown citizens to really understand why 'blackface' is so offensive. Instead of attending your Catholic church try another flavor.

What a sad and bitter man you are. All you do is show your ignorance and bitterness. You do not know a thing about Nancy or the diversity in her family background and her heart or you would not say such things.

Your indignant comment embarrasses mostly yourself. Nancy said nothing in the piece about race herself. And your attack on her religion reveals your bigotry.

I agree. We keep up this ridiculous practice of condemning leaders for their silly or childish deeds in their adolescence and no one will run, definitely not our best and brightest who I suspect statistically commit more stupid actions in their youth than those less bright. Just saying... Anyway, I hope that governor in Virginia stays in office with his awful viewpoint regarding late term abortion. That is his Achilles Heel, not the nonsense he engaged in years ago. He'll either be impeached or lose in a landslide the next time he runs against a Republican.

Governors in Virginia can’t run for re-election, it’s 1 term and you are done. But Northam outside of this office is done politically, I don’t see him being nominated for any federal position from a future President. The ONLY damage being done is Democrats WONT win the state House of Delegates this year but that’s it. Virginia is a blue state, these scandals there has only postponed the inevitable there. Hopefully Florida doesn’t fall in the same trap Virginia does

So what....why on God's green earth is this such a big deal????? So what if he painted his face black, put on a flat bill ball cap, put a doo rag around his head, put gold chains around his neck and sunglasses on his face. Is he stereotyping black men? NO, he's dressing the part of many black men, white rappers, etc. that are in the news via TV, facebook, twitter, instagram and youtube. Chill out people!!!!!! Funny, no one has anything to say about a man dressing up as a woman or vice versa.

I suppose if you look up dirt on any person while there was younger or older it will always be the same people that don't like people would dig up the dirt wherever it is.

Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle! You and Marion Hammer make a helluva pair, Smitty!

Marion is smart, gritty, accomplished, impervious to petty put-downs. I take your comment as a compliment, Voted. Thank you!

Those who live in glass houses........ Look at your own house. Don't say that people change and apply it only to some people.

Comments are now closed.

nancy smith


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