Trudeau’s brown-face scandal deepens

September 20, 2019

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Picture shows Justin Trudeau wearing brown face at a party in 2001.—AFP
Picture shows Justin Trudeau wearing brown face at a party in 2001.—AFP

OTTAWA: New damning images of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wearing blackface make-up emerged on Canadian television on Thursday, throwing his floundering re-election bid into further disarray.

Released by broadcaster Global News, and confirmed to AFP by his campaign as being Trudeau “in the early 1990s”, the footage depicts the Liberal leader in ripped jeans and a T-shirt, his arms up and dark make-up on his face.

Late on Wednesday, Trud­eau apologised after Time magazine published a photograph of him in brown-face make-up at an Arabian Nigh­ts-themed party 18 years ago.

The son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, who is considered the father of modern Canada, has admitted to wearing similar make-up in his teens when he sang Harry Belafonte’s 1956 hit “Banana Boat Song (Day-O)” at a high school talent contest. “I have worked all my life to try to create opportunities for people, fight against racism and intolerance,” he told a televised news conference on his campaign aircraft.

“I can say I made a mistake when I was younger and I wish I hadn’t. I wish I had known better then, but I didn’t and I’m deeply sorry for it.”

“Now I recognise it was something racist to do,” he said, acknowledging that his enthusiasm for costumes — which has also included dressing up as comic book hero Clark Kent/Superman and a “Star Wars” rebel pilot for Halloween — has not always been “appropriate”. Trudeau, 47, whose party won a landslide victory in 2015, has already been under attack for an ethics lapse and other controversies.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2019