EXCLUSIVE: Student in controversial 'blackface' photo speaks out

Jasmine Bates, a freshman at Lebanon High, says she needs to set the record straight.

Posted: Oct 31, 2019 6:45 PM
Updated: Nov 1, 2019 9:43 AM

LEBANON, Ore. -- A freshman at Lebanon High School who was in the controversial "blackface" photo over the weekend is now sharing her side of the story.

"In my opinion, the picture was innocent until someone made it wrong," Jasmine Bates said.

The picture showed seven teenagers wearing black face paint at a high school haunted barn fundraiser, but it was captioned with the hashtag "N***** Gang." It quickly spread, going viral and sparking controversy.

Bates said when she showed up to volunteer Saturday night, the adult chaperones encouraged her to put on the makeup so she could hide in the dark. Then they took the group photo.

RELATED: LEBANON TEENS WEAR BLACKFACE AT HIGH SCHOOL EVENT, SPARKING OUTRAGE

The Lebanon teen and her mother, Laura Lewis, told KEZI 9 News that even after the face paint, even after the photo was taken, none of this madness would have happened if the person had just never made that racist caption and posted it to social media.

All week, Bates said she's received hateful messages and even threats.

MORE: RUMORS OF SCHOOL SHOOTING NOT CREDIBLE, LEBANON POLICE SAY

"Everyone else was just attacking, attacking, attacking, and there were death threats and lots of insults, and it upset me personally because I didn't do anything wrong," Bates said.

She and her mom told KEZI that administrators at Lebanon High School are giving them the cold shoulder.

"There has been no attempt to console or question her or reach out to her at all, even knowing she hasn't been to school since Monday," said Lewis. "She's been sick over this."

Even with the massive criticism, both Bates and her mom said the only person to blame for any of this is the girl who made the racist caption and posted it on social media.

"I hope that she makes a public apology to everyone that was involved, and I hope she knows she hurt a lot of people," said Bates.

Bates said she does not know what is next for her but one thing she does know is she will not be returning to Lebanon High School.

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