Justin Trudeau Brownface Controversy

Justin Trudeau Brownface Controversy

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Updated Sep 22, 2019 at 07:54AM EDT by Y F.

Added Sep 19, 2019 at 12:17PM EDT by Adam.

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Justin Trudeau Brownface Controversy refers to the backlash after a 2001 image of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau covered in brown makeup as part of a costume of an Arab was reported by TIME Magazine.


On September 18th, 2019, TIME Magazine reported on a picture of Trudeau in 2001, then 29 years old and teaching at West Point Grey Academy, wearing "brownface" as part of an Arab costume.[1] The picture appears in the West Point Grey Academy Yearbook (shown below).

Speaking to reporters after TIME published the photo, Trudeau said, "“I shouldn’t have done that. I should have known better and I didn’t. I’m really sorry… "(It was racist). I didn’t consider it racist at the time, but now we know better.” He also admitted to wearing blackface makeup in high school to sing "Day-O" by Harry Belafonte (shown below). When pressed by reporters if there were any other instances of him dressing in embarrassing costumes, Trudeau said, "“The fact of the matter is that I’ve always--and you’ll know this--been more enthusiastic about costumes than is sometimes appropriate.”

La fumée du Gala..


Leaders of Canadian other Canadian political parties stated their shock and disappointment at the photograph. Jagmeet Singh of the Canadian New Democratic Party stated "Tonight is not about the Prime Minister. It's about every young person mocked for the colour of their skin… Tonight, I say, you are loved" (shown below, left). Elizabeth May of the Green Party called on Trudeau to apologize (shown below, right).

Jagmeet Singh @theJagmeetSingh Tonight is not about the Prime Minister. 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. 9:28 PM Sep 18, 2019 Twitter Web App Elizabeth May @ElizabethMay I am deeply shocked by the racism shown in the photograph of Justin Trudeau. He must apologize for the harm done and commit to learning and appreciating the requirement to model social justice leadership at all levels of government. In this matter he has failed. 8:07 PM Sep 18, 2019 Twitter Web App

Meanwhile, others created photoshops using the image of Trudeau. These were compiled in an article from eBaum's World[2] (examples shown below).


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