There’s a Third Incident of Justin Trudeau in Racist Makeup

The prime minister, running for reelection, is facing calls for his resignation.
September 19, 2019, 2:20pm
Justin Trudeau dressed as Aladdin in full brownface in 2001. Photo via screenshot. 

This article originally appeared on VICE Canada.

Two more instances of Justin Trudeau in racist makeup have surfaced hours after Time Magazine reported that he wore brown face at an “Arabian Nights” themed fundraiser in January 2001.

Trudeau apologized for the incident Wednesday night at a press conference shortly after the story broke, calling his behavior “racist.” The Liberal party has not released an itinerary for Trudeau on Thursday. Time reports that they received the image from a "Vancouver businessman named Michael Adamson."

During his apology, Trudeau then referenced another incident where, when he was in high school, Trudeau said he “dressed up at a talent show and sang 'Day O' with makeup on.” CTV’s Evan Solomon tweeted out photo evidence of this black face incident Wednesday night. Trudeau was attending Montreal’s Brebeuf college.

On Thursday morning, Global News released video evidence of a third instance of Trudeau in racist makeup, this time dancing and making faces while in the makeup.

In the aftermath of these revelations, Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer has called Trudeau “not fit” to be prime minister and asked for his resignation.

In an emotional statement, NDP [New Democratic Party] leader Jagmeet Singh said he’s experienced plenty of racism in the past but was able to fight back—he addressed his statement to those in situations where they can’t push back on racism.

"I want to talk to all the kids out there, all the folks that live this and are growing up and are still feeling the pain of racism," said Singh. "I want you to know that you might feel like giving up on Canada, you might feel like giving up on yourself. I want you to know that you have value, you have worth, and you are loved. I don't want you to give up on Canada and I don't want you to give up on yourselves."

In a tweet, Elizabeth May [party leader of the Green Party of Canada] said she was, “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,” her tweet said.

The first incident took place in 2001 while Trudeau, 29 at the time, was teaching at West Point Grey Academy, a Vancouver private school. Trudeau taught at the school from 1999 to 2001 and the event in question was chronicled in an April 2001 newsletter that has been unearthed by Robert Jago in Canadaland.

The newsletter dubbed the evening Arabian Nights. It took place at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver. According to the write up that precedes the images, the evening included a live auction "with [over 350] items ranging from the ever-popular parking spots to fabulous vacations." The recap, seemingly written by a student who attended the event, describes a lavish affair that raised over $160,000 for West Point Grey Academy.

"As the ballroom doors opened two belly dancers emerged, dancing around the marketplace auction and escorting people into the lavishly decorated ballroom—rich fabrics, glittering trinkets on the tables," reads the newsletter. “Later on, the music started and as usual, our parents and teachers rose to the occasion by filling the dance floor."

Trudeau was adamant in his apology that he didn’t know donning brown face was racist at the time, but he’s since learned his lesson.

"I take responsibility for my decision to do that. I shouldn't have done it. I should have known better. It was something that I didn't think was racist at the time, but now I recognize it was something racist to do and I am deeply sorry."

With files from Mack Lamoureux and Sarah Berman

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