Photos and video of Justin Trudeau in brownface send shockwaves across Canada
Liberal leader and current Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the talk of political watchers worldwide this morning following the explosive leak of two photos in which he appears to be wearing black- or brownface makeup.
The first photo, published by TIME Magazine on Wednesday evening, shows a 29-year-old Trudeau dressed up like Disney's Aladdin, complete with an oversized turban and dark makeup all over his face, neck and hands.
Taken during an "Arabian Nights"-themed party at the Vancouver private school where he'd been working as a teacher, the photo was recently found in a 2000-2001 West Point Grey Academy yearbook.
This photo was in the school yearbook! How in the world did it go unnoticed all these years? https://t.co/pgFELWr08h— Joshua Benton (@jbenton) September 18, 2019
Trudeau apologized for the incident on Wednesday night, telling reporters on his campaign plane that he was "deeply sorry" and that he "should have known better."
"I take responsibility for my decision to do that," he said. "I shouldn't have done it. I should have known better. 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."
Justin Trudeau apologises for 'brownface' photo: 'It was racist' pic.twitter.com/X2JW4uu5jF— The Independent (@Independent) September 19, 2019
During the same press conference, Trudeau admitted that he had also performed in blackface makeup to sing "Day O" at a talent show when he was in high school.
It didn't take long for a photo from that performance at Le collège Jean-de-Brébeuf in Montreal to emerge.
On Thursday morning, a separate video of the Prime Minister wearing dark makeup on his face and body emerged courtesy of Global News.
The grainy footage appears to show a young Trudeau in blackface once again, though it is not clear when or where the clip was shot.
A spokesperson for the Liberal party confirmed to Global that the photo is of Trudeau. When asked for more information, however, the Liberal party simply referred reporters to the PM's apology statement from Wednesday night.
A second photo of Trudeau from the 2001 Arabian Nights party was also published by Canadaland on Thursday morning.
That photo, taken from an old newsletter, shows Trudeau posing with two men who appear to be Sikh, and is only one of several photos from the event featuring people in costumes that would widely be considered racist by today's standards.
NEW: There's a second photo of Justin Trudeau in brownface, and it's, uh, arguably even worse: https://t.co/rTZjwJ9W0w— CANADALAND (@CANADALAND) September 19, 2019
No less than four images of Trudeau in racist makeup have now emerged in less than 24 hours.
His election opponents are, predictably, using the situation as fodder for political attacks, but even longtime supporters of the PM are expressing their disappointment.
"I am so disappointed. I don’t know what to say. I have taken my 'Trudeau' button off and placed it away," wrote one on Twitter. "Who knows if I will ever again feel comfortable wearing it again... this news is a violation in my opinion of true Liberal values. Utterly shameful."
Tonight is not about the Prime Minister.— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) September 19, 2019
It's about every young person mocked for the colour of their skin.
The child who had their turban ripped off their head.
And those reliving intense feelings of pain & hurt from past experiences of racism.
To you, I say you are loved.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer said in a statement that he was "extremely shocked and disappointed" by the controversial photos.
Green Party leader Elizabeth may said the first brownface photo made her feel "physically ill."
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, who himself is a member the Sikh faith, was emotional when speaking to reporters about the images of Trudeau on Wednesday night.
An emotional message from Jagmeet Singh tonight to people who will see the image of Trudeau and feel a lot of pain. “You are loved ... together we can fight for a better society” @CTVNews pic.twitter.com/q4G3TBgyO4— Annie BergeronOliver (@AnnieClaireBO) September 19, 2019
"Tonight is not about the Prime Minister. It's about every young person mocked for the colour of their skin," Singh wrote in a statement.
"The child who had their turban ripped off their head. And those reliving intense feelings of pain & hurt from past experiences of racism," he continued.
"To you, I say you are loved."
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