The mate who ‘blacked up’ with a pub landlord to take part in Truro City Carnival has rubbished critics - saying it was "PC gone mad".
Publican of the Miners Arms Kevin Stevens has apologised after prompting offence by their actions, which included ‘blacking up’ and donning an afro-style wig.
But his friend Jason Luke, 31, who went along to the carnival dressed as Serena Williams, has defended the costumes and branded the reaction to their appearance as “PC gone mad.”
Mr Luke, a builder, said: “I don't get it at all. It's just as well I didn't go as Boris Becker and upset the gingers.”
Friends and staff at the pub in Redruth decided to dress up as tennis stars from across the world as part of their ongoing charity work.
But the inclusion of the two men dressed as the famous American sisters has sparked controversy.
The father-of-one from Redruth said the group was raising money for charity at the event - but their efforts had been ignored because of the uproar.
"We've got an ongoing thing at the Miners Arms and we're trying to raise for CLIC, a charity for children with leukaemia.”
"I've seen us in the local papers this morning - I'm mortified really but it takes away from a good cause. Over the years we've raised thousands for the charity. I'm gutted
"Like Kevin said the last thing we wanted to do was upset anyone but I don't think what we did was racist. I don't see the big issue - it's PC gone mad.”
He added: "One of the reasons we went to the carnival as well was because it had been struggling recently.
"We wanted to get the thing going again. And this is what's happened. What can you do?"
Hundreds of people across Cornwall have leapt to the defence of the men but the Council for Racial Equality in Cornwall said the performance was offensive to all ethnicities.
Dean Harvey, from the Council for Racial Equality in Cornwall, said: “The whole concept of blackened face is steeped in racial prejudice and stereotype from minstrels to golliwogs and so on.
“It is not just a bit of fun, it is offensive to people of all ethnicities and it’s time we moved on from this.
“These two guys were not representative of Cornwall, only unfortunately serving to remind us of times gone by that we should acknowledge and move on from.”
The pub’s governor Mr Stevens has already apologised, declaring their intention was never to offend anyone.
The 50-year-old said the pub prides itself in being the friendliest in Cornwall and was a very open-minded watering hole.