At least three images have emerged in the past 24 hours that show Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wearing racist makeup.
Trudeau acknowledged two of the incidents in a TIME Magazine piece published this week and apologized for the behavior, which he acknowledged was racist. TIME Magazine published two photos of separate times Trudeau wore brownface and blackface makeup.
One incident was during an “Arabian Nights” themed gala at a school at which he was teaching in 2001. In the photo, Trudeau is seen wearing a turban and robes with darkened makeup on his face, neck and hands. The image was published in the West Point Grey Academy 2000-2001 yearbook, where he was teaching at the time. A Vancouver businessman named Michael Adamson reportedly shared the photo with TIME because he felt it should be made public.
“I shouldn’t have done that. I should have known better and I didn’t. I’m really sorry,” Trudeau told TIME Magazine this week, which first reported on the photo.
When TIME asked if he thought the photo was racist, Trudeau said: “Yes it was. I didn’t consider it racist at the time, but now we know better.”
The other incident was in high school, when he wore blackface makeup to sing a Jamaican folk song.
“I deeply regret that I did that,” he told TIME of the blackface incident.
But a third image has surfaced of Trudeau wearing blackface since the TIME piece was published. Global News obtained a video that appears to show Trudeau wearing blackface makeup and sticking his tongue out. A senior Liberal Party official reportedly confirmed to Global News that the person in the video was Trudeau.
Later on Thursday, Trudeau held a press conference to address the issue. He admitted only he was responsible for his actions and explained why he didn’t tell his campaign staff when he knew the photos might eventually surface.
“I was embarrassed. Particularly given the person that I’ve become and the leader that I try to be — to fight for people’s rights and defend people against intolerance and racism. I didn’t want to talk about it with anyone,” he said. “I’m not that person anymore. I’m someone that understands the deep hurt caused by actions like that to people who live with discrimination every day. When we found out that TIME Magazine was looking for a picture of that event, I told my staff, but ultimately the call is mine on when to talk to people, when to act on things. The buck stops with me and I take responsibility.”
Read the full TIME piece here.
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