UPDATED 9/19, 9:45 a.m. ET: In what Canada’s Global News calls “the third instance of racist dress to come to light in 12 hours,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is allegedly shown in a new video in blackface. View that four-minute news report, including the footage, here.
Trudeau spoke to reporters on Thursday. Asked if he remembers how many instances he wore blackface, he said, "Uh, I think...I think it is obvious that this is something that was deeply regrettable. I am wary of...of, uh, being definitive about this, because the recent pictures that came out, I had not remembered. And I think the question is, 'How can you not remember that?' The fact is I, uh...I didn't understand how hurtful this is to people who live with discrimination every single day."
One clip that's circulating, embedded below, cuts off at that point:
See original story below.
One week after he launched his re-election campaign, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has found himself at the center of a racial controversy.
Time magazine published a resurfaced photo in which the politician is seen donning brownface. The publication reports the image appeared in the 2000-2001 yearbook of a private school where a then-29-year-old Trudeau was teaching. As you can see below, the PM was donning a white turban with his face, neck, and hands covered in dark makeup. The photo included three other women, one of whom was being embraced by Trudeau.
Zita Astravas, a spokesperson for Trudeau's Liberal Party, confirmed the man in the image was, in fact, the prime minister.
"It was a photo taken while he was teaching in Vancouver, at the school’s annual dinner which had a costume theme of 'Arabian Nights,'" Astravas said. "He attended with friends and colleagues dressed as a character from Aladdin."
Trudeau addressed the controversy Wednesday night aboard a plane with reporters. The PM acknowledged that brownface was racist, and expressed regret over his decision.
"I shouldn't have done it. I should have known better, but I didn't. And I'm really sorry," he said. Trudeau went on to say, "I take responsibility for my decision to do that ... it was something that I didn't think was racist at the time, but now I recognize it was something racist to do."
The 47-year-old leader continued: "I'm going to be asking Canadians to forgive me for what I did ... it was a dumb thing to do. I'm disappointed in myself, I'm pissed off at myself for having done it. I wish I hadn't done it, but I did it."