Roanoke doctor featured in blackface yearbook photo

Local News
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A former plastic surgeon in the Roanoke Valley has admitted to wearing blackface in an Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook.

The newly discovered photos were printed in the yearbook that came out one year after the EVMS yearbook that led to the controversy swirling around Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

Our sister station WAVY-TV first reported that the 1985 EVMS yearbook featured the photo of a man in blackface on Michael Breiner’s page.

Breiner told WFXR’s Brooke Williams Monday evening that he dressed up as Diana Ross at a Halloween party. Breiner said his friends were dressed as the Supremes. He also added that he sought and received the approval to wear the black makeup from African-American medical students who attended the same party.

“I am a big fan of Diana Ross. I love the Supremes. I have a lot of great African American friends. I still do. And they gave me their blessing that this would not offend them,” said Breiner. “It was a Halloween party. I meant no disrespect to the African-American community,” he added.

Breiner is listed as the Discipline Chair for Surgery and Associate Professor for Anatomical Sciences and Surgery at Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg.

Breiner previously worked as a plastic surgeon in the Roanoke Valley, but retired from active practice in 2014. The same year he became full-time faculty at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. He was also a Virginia State Senate candidate in 2007.  

“Do I regret it now? Yeah, because it’s a different time. This was 35 years ago,” said Breiner. 

The caption in the 1985 EVMS yearbook said “who ever thought Diana Ross would make it to Medical School.”

Stay with WFXR News and for the latest on this developing story

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