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Boy dressed in blackface for promposal, said he impersonated bitmoji

Posted at 7:45 AM, May 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-30 07:45:19-04

LOS GATOS, CA (KGO/CNN) - A promposal at a high school in California lead to accusations of racism.

A school newspaper got a tip that a student dressed in blackface, thinking that would impress his would-be date, but he says he was just trying to look like a bitmoji.

At Los Gatos High School and others, gone are the days of simply asking a prospective date to prom. "The ask" is as monumental as the prom itself.

"Now just wanting to go with someone you like just isn't enough," said Danika Lyle, one of the editors of the high school newspaper.

Lyle said she got a tip a blackface promposal had taken place and that no one was reporting it.

The senior at the center of the controversial promposal requested that we not identify him. He says the incident was taken out of context.

"There was no intention of racism." he said. 

It began with a Snapchatted bitmoji request.

"He has black skin and he has a blue mo-hawk, blue eyebrows and a blue goatee," the student said.

When his prospective date wasn't impressed, he had another idea.

"I dressed exactly like the bitmoji and then asked her," including painting his face black with blue hair, eyebrows and a goatee.

Lyle, who is half African-American, says even with the bitmoji context she is still offended.

"What you're saying when you make a bitmoji for the purpose of being funny and then make it black, which the student is not, you're saying something about that skin tone about it being funny," she said.

"I did not mean for people to take it this way," he said. "I did not mean this in a racist way whatsoever. I'm very sorry if you feel offended."

The online version of the paper also covered a controversial junior prom ask.

"It was sick. It said along the lines of 'Do you want to be my N-word and hang with me at prom' and then it detailed a black person hanging from a tree," Lyle said.

Lyle said she hopes Los Gatos High School is now taking steps to educate students ahead of next year's prom season.

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