Justin Trudeau Apologises After Three Cases Of Brownface And Blackface Emerge

Justin Trudeau Blackface Video - Global VideoGlobal News/PA

A video has surfaced of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in blackface – the Liberal Party leader’s third racist blunder in 24 hours. 

The clip obtained by Global News shows Trudeau raising his hands in the air while laughing, sticking his tongue out and making faces – all while wearing dark makeup, which is also covering his arms.

Global News only managed to verify it was him in the video this morning (September 19), after a senior member of the Liberal campaign confirmed it was Trudeau.

Have a look at the video below:

The Prime Minister is facing nationwide heat for cases of racist dress – a photograph obtained by TIME Magazine shows Trudeau dressed in brownface and a turban.

It was taken in 2001 – the leader was 29 years old and teaching at a private school – when Trudeau attended an ‘Arabian Nights’ gala hosted by the West Point Grey Academy in Vancouver.

Justin Trudeau Brownface Yearbook TIME 1TIME

It’s an odd turn for a political leader so often praised for being ‘woke’ and supporting ethnic minorities, however he has since explained the makeup and turban: he was dressing up as Aladdin.

TIME received the image after Vancouver businessman Michael Adamson, who was part of the West Point Grey Academy community, felt it should be made public. He had not attended the party, but saw the image for the first time in July in the 2000-01 yearbook.

Following the publication of the photograph, Trudeau told reporters on Wednesday (September 18):

I shouldn’t have done that. I should have known better and I didn’t. I’m really sorry.

This is something I shouldn’t have done many years ago. It was something that I didn’t think was racist at the time, but now I recognize it was something racist to do, and I am deeply sorry.

I’m going to be asking Canadians to forgive me.

Justin Trudeau Canadian Prime MinisterPA

Zita Astravas, the media relations lead of the Liberal Party of Canada, which Trudeau is the leader of, also confirmed the photo, explaining the leader had attended an ‘Arabian Nights’ party and ‘dressed as a character from Aladdin’.

Mustafa Farooq, the executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said that he found the photograph ‘deeply saddening’.

As reported by The New York Times, Farooq said:

The wearing of blackface/brownface is reprehensible, and harkens back to a history of racism and an Orientalist mythology, which is unacceptable.

The third case was revealed by Trudeau himself; yesterday he told reporters about a photo from high school in which he is dressed in blackface while performing the song Day-O.

The controversy comes as Trudeau kicked off his re-election campaign just over a week ago. Unsurprisingly, politics have took hold of the situation with a fierce grip.

Justin Trudeau Canadian Prime MinisterPA

Andrew Scheer, the Conservative leader and Trudeau’s main challenger in the October 21 vote, said the photograph reflected ‘someone with a complete lack of judgment and integrity, and someone who is not fit to govern this country’.

Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the New Democratic Party, who is a Sikh, also chimed in. He called the costume and makeup ‘insulting’, and demands that he answer for his indiscretion.

As reported by The New York Times, Singh said: 

Who is the real Mr Trudeau? Is it the one behind closed doors, the one when the cameras are turned off that no one sees? Is that the real Mr Trudeau? Because more and more, it seems like it is.

The image has been compared to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s scandal earlier this year: a 1984 medical school yearbook photo surfaced showing a man in blackface and another in a Ku Klux Klan hood.

Northam admitted to appearing in the photo and apologised initially, but then performed a U-turn and denied that it was him at all. When critics pressured him to resign from his post, he refused.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam Blackface Yearbook PhotoPA

Trudeau has long supported progress for minorities in Canada: at least seven of the 35 members of Trudeau’s cabinet are from ethnic minorities, including four Sikhs.

The leader has also described himself as a feminist, forming a gender-balanced cabinet when he took office in 2015.

Justin Trudeau Canadian Prime MinisterPA

However, the leader faced criticism recently after Jody Wilson-Raybould, a former justice minister and attorney general, said she felt improperly pressured by Trudeau to drop a corruption case against an engineering company based in Montreal.

Trudeau’s explanation, which was that he wanted to save as many jobs as possible, was drowned out by the accusations of ‘ganging up on an Indigenous woman to protect the Liberal Party’s fortunes in Quebec’.

Barry Kay, a political-science professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, told The New York Times that while the photo is clearly an embarrassing misstep, it’s too early to assess its impact in political hunting season.

Kay said: 

I am not sure the extent that it will resonate in public opinion in a campaign where everyone has been turning on everyone.

If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via story@unilad.com

You might also like