Frank responds to criticism over hoodie comment
NEWTON, Mass. (WHDH) -- Barney Frank spoke out about the controversial comments he made at UMass Dartmouth’s commencement ceremony Saturday.
The congressman said he is not sorry about what he said.
“Some people got upset, most people I believe are not upset,” said Frank.
Frank responded to criticism after making a joke during his commencement speech.
"When they give you an honorary doctorate they give you one of these and Hubie, I think you now got a hoodie you can wear and no one will shoot at you," Frank said during his speech.
Earlier this week he apologized for the comment. On Wednesday, prior to speaking at a Boston event, he said he was sorry people are so sensitive.
“It’s a joke I’ve made three times about hoodies,” said Frank. “This is the first time someone focused on it. And no, I think making jokes about serious issues to make a serious point is a good thing. And the notion that people are offended because you try to highlight something like that. I’m troubled by the hypersensitivity.”
The comment referred to the Trayvon Martin case -- a Florida teen who was wearing a hoodie when he was shot and killed by a neighbor.
In Frank’s commencement speech he was referring to the hooded robe that civil rights leader Hubie Jones received with his honorary degree during the graduation. Frank said he made the comment at his own expense a few times before.
“It was the third time I made that comment. It was a reference, which I’m surprised people don’t understand, to the fact that one of the reasons Mr. Zimmerman gave for his suspicion of Trayvon Martin was that he was wearing a hood,” said Frank.
Frank added, “And by the way, most people that talked to me about it were not upset. So it’s a country of 300 million people, if a couple of thousand people say something it doesn’t mean a great deal.”
Frank says he is troubled that people are making a point of this issue, which he called trivial, as opposed to focusing on other things he spoke about during the commencement speech, including cutting military spending to try and ease the economic hardships for college graduates.