News

World

Canadian PM Trudeau Apologizes for Appearing in ‘Brownface’ in Old Photo

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets the people during his visit to the holy Sikh shrine of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, February 21, 2018. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose reelection campaign began just one week ago, apologized on Wednesday for appearing in “brownface” in a picture dating from 2001.

The picture was found in an old yearbook from Trudeau’s time as a teacher at the West Point Grey Academy in British Columbia. In it, the future prime minister can be seen dressed in Arab-style garb with his face painted brown, at a gathering dubbed an “Arabian Nights” party.

Trudeau told reporters that he came in costume as a character from Aladdin.

“I should have known better then but I didn’t, and I am deeply sorry for it,” Trudeau told reporters on his plane.

The prime minister then admitted that it wasn’t the first time he had appeared in costume in order to portray a member of another ethnicity.

“When I was in high school, I dressed up at a talent show and sang Day-O,” Trudeau said, referring to the traditional Jamaican song made famous by Harry Belafonte. Trudeau said he performed the song with makeup on, apparently referring to blackface.

Trudeau has drawn accolades from progressives both within Canada and internationally for his liberal policies, including accepting more refugees into his country than President Trump has for the U.S.

However, in addition to the recent scandal, he was caught up in controversy earlier this year when Canada’s former attorney general revealed that the prime minister pressured her to drop the criminal prosecution of a Quebec company.

Trudeau’s conservative challenger, Andrew Scheer, commented that brownface was racist in 2001 just as much as in 2019.

Update 11:45 a.m.: A third instance of Trudeau in racist makeup was released by the Canadian paper Global News, this time in video. Trudeau is wearing blackface, and his identity in the video was confirmed by a senior Liberal campaign member. It is not clear where Trudeau was filmed, and the video dates to the early 1990s.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

Most Popular

How to Avoid a China-Led World Order

As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, it has opened our eyes to China’s rapidly expanding role in the international order and global economy. Beijing’s outsize role in the World Health Organization has come under attack, as has the muscular diplomacy used by China’s foreign ministry in responding to ... Read More

How to Avoid a China-Led World Order

As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, it has opened our eyes to China’s rapidly expanding role in the international order and global economy. Beijing’s outsize role in the World Health Organization has come under attack, as has the muscular diplomacy used by China’s foreign ministry in responding to ... Read More
Immigration

The Party’s Over — No More Guest(worker)s

Last month's Presidential Proclamation temporarily suspending a tiny sliver of permanent immigration in response to Great Depression 2.0 also called for a review of the alphabet soup of foreign-worker programs. The relevant cabinet departments were instructed to offer recommendations "to stimulate the United ... Read More
Immigration

The Party’s Over — No More Guest(worker)s

Last month's Presidential Proclamation temporarily suspending a tiny sliver of permanent immigration in response to Great Depression 2.0 also called for a review of the alphabet soup of foreign-worker programs. The relevant cabinet departments were instructed to offer recommendations "to stimulate the United ... Read More
World

Hong Kong, All Alone

China is currently transgressing the terms of its 1997 treaty over Hong Kong, which promised a “one country, two systems” settlement that preserved Hong Kong’s somewhat autonomous democratic institutions. These institutions guarantee rights to Hong Kongers and guard its common-law inheritance. China’s ... Read More
World

Hong Kong, All Alone

China is currently transgressing the terms of its 1997 treaty over Hong Kong, which promised a “one country, two systems” settlement that preserved Hong Kong’s somewhat autonomous democratic institutions. These institutions guarantee rights to Hong Kongers and guard its common-law inheritance. China’s ... Read More
Elections

Against Jo Rae Perkins

On Tuesday, Jo Rae Perkins won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Oregon. The Oregon GOP says it will back her candidacy notwithstanding her associations with the “QAnon” movement. That’s a mistake. Perkins is an unreconstructed exponent of a batty and corrosive conspiracy theory running a ... Read More
Elections

Against Jo Rae Perkins

On Tuesday, Jo Rae Perkins won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Oregon. The Oregon GOP says it will back her candidacy notwithstanding her associations with the “QAnon” movement. That’s a mistake. Perkins is an unreconstructed exponent of a batty and corrosive conspiracy theory running a ... Read More
U.S.

Unsustainable America

Americans are having fewer babies than ever, or at least than since the government began tracking the general fertility rate in 1909. The total fertility rate ticked down to 1.7 in 2019, meaning that the average number of babies an American woman would have over her lifetime is well below replacement ... Read More
U.S.

Unsustainable America

Americans are having fewer babies than ever, or at least than since the government began tracking the general fertility rate in 1909. The total fertility rate ticked down to 1.7 in 2019, meaning that the average number of babies an American woman would have over her lifetime is well below replacement ... Read More

The Makings of Modern Madness

The paradigm of mind–brain dualism, like the story of syphilis, is by no means virgin territory. However, Allan Ropper and Brian Burrell’s How The Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Illness puts both the legacy of dualism and the story of syphilis under the microscope, and offers a ... Read More

The Makings of Modern Madness

The paradigm of mind–brain dualism, like the story of syphilis, is by no means virgin territory. However, Allan Ropper and Brian Burrell’s How The Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Illness puts both the legacy of dualism and the story of syphilis under the microscope, and offers a ... Read More