Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau has responded to the emerged photo of him wearing “brownface” published by Time Magazine.
On Wednesday, Trudeau addressed the matter to members of the press explaining where the photo was from and apologizing for not knowing better. The prime minister says the image was taken at a school party back in 2001 that was themed “Arabian Nights”.
“I shouldn’t have done it. I should have known better, but I didn’t,” he said about the issue. “And I’m really sorry.”
The Liberal Leader acknowledged that his appearance in the photo was racist but did not consider it so at the time. The photo shows a young Trudeau with colleagues; his head wrapped around a turban as he sported a robe and dark makeup on his face and hands.
Exclusive: Justin Trudeau wore brownface at 2001 ‘Arabian Nights’ party while he taught at a private school, Canada's Liberal Party admits https://t.co/j3UobfYNIF
— TIME (@TIME) September 18, 2019
Canada’s Liberal Party spokesperson Zita Astravas explained on the politician’s behalf that he was donned in a costume drawn from Aladdin.
Trudeau — who is running for re-election against Andrew Scheer — pledged to continue his efforts against “intolerance and discrimination.”
“…I am going to continue to stay focused on that and continue to work to fight intolerance and discrimination, even though obviously I made a mistake in the past,” he told reporters.
Scheer has spoken about his political rival’s controversy saying Trudeau’s resurfaced photos showed Canadians “someone with a complete lack of judgment and integrity and someone who’s not fit to govern this country.”
Green Party leader Elizabeth May took to Twitter to express her dismay over the resurfaced photo urging Trudeau to apologize.
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.
— Elizabeth May (@ElizabethMay) September 19, 2019