Toronto’s Bozak under fire for Michael Jackson costume

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A year after Phoenix forward Raffi Torres came under heavy scrutiny for dressing as Jay-Z, another NHLer is facing a similar storm of controversy.

Late Tuesday night, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Tyler Bozak posted a picture of his Halloween costume — Michael Jackson — and was immediately met with criticism for dressing in blackface.

The picture in question:

source:

Bozak pulled the picture shortly after tweeting it, but defended his actions in a subsequent tweet.

“That’s a tribute to one of my fave artists,” he wrote. “For anyone saying its racist is crazy!”

Last October, Torres faced similar condemnation after he and his wife attended a Halloween party dressed as Jay-Z and Beyonce.

The photo was tweeted by Coyotes teammate Paul Bisonette and opened Torres up to harsh criticisms, with two prominent journalists — Bruce Arthur of the National Post and Bill Platschke of the Los Angeles Times — penning columns about the ramifications of wearing blackface.

The negative response to Torres’ costume was enough for the Phoenix organization to issue a statement defending him.

“There was absolutely nothing racist about Raffi and his wife’s costumes,” the statement read. “Raffi is a huge fan of Jay-Z and his wife loves Beyonce. It was a Halloween party. The fact that this was reported is ridiculous. We will have no further comment.”

At the time of writing, the Maple Leafs have not issued a statement on the Bozak situation.