East Valley Legislative Candidate Mary Ann Mendoza Appears to Be Wearing Blackface in Recently Surfaced Photos

Mary Ann Mendoza in 2017. (Photo by Megan Janetsky of Cronkite News)

By Camaron Stevenson

October 21, 2022

The East Valley candidate appears to have donned the offensive and racist makeup while wearing costumes of Pocahontas and Aunt Jemima.

Several photographs have emerged that appear to depict a Republican candidate for the Arizona Legislature wearing blackface and brownface.

The photographs were originally posted on Twitter, with the account claiming they are of Mary Ann Mendoza, a candidate for the state House in Arizona’s 9th District. In the pictures she is wearing brownface as part of a Pocahontas costume, and blackface in a costume of Aunt Jemina—a former brand of syrup that was rebranded in 2020 by Quaker because, according to the company, “Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype.”

mary ann mendoza
mary ann mendoza
mary ann mendoza

It is unclear when the photos were taken. The Copper Courier has reached out to Mendoza, but did not receive a response by time of publication.

This is not Mendoza’s first brush with controversy involving race. In 2020, she reposted a series of tweets promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories, which led to her removal from the Republican National Convention, shortly before she was scheduled to speak.

She later apologized, stating that she had “not [paid] attention to the whole message. That does not reflect my feelings or personal thoughts whatsoever.”

Lorena Austin and Seth Blattman, the two Democratic candidates running against Mendoza in LD 9, released the following joint statement:

“These recently released photos of our opponent, Mary Ann Mendoza, are a display of violent racism. These photos are disgusting, hate-filled, and unfortunately part of a pattern for Mary Ann Mendoza. 

This trend makes Ms. Mendoza unfit to become a legislator and represent the people of LD 9. 

If these photos are what they appear to be, Ms. Mendoza should withdraw her candidacy and we are calling on her running mate, Kathy Pearce, to condemn this behavior and agree it disqualifies Ms. Mendoza from public office.”

The Copper Courier reached out to Pearce, a fellow Republican House candidate for LD 9 who has campaigned heavily with Mendoza, but did not receive a response prior to publication.

This is a developing story.

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  • Camaron Stevenson

    Camaron is the Founding Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for The Copper Courier, and has worked as a journalist in Phoenix for over a decade. He also teaches multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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