Fri | Nov 15, 2019

Brownface, blackface photos cause scandal for Canada's Trudeau

Published:Thursday | September 19, 2019 | 10:07 AM
Canadian Prime Minister and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau reacts as he makes a statement in regards to a photo coming to light of himself from 2001, wearing "brownface," during a scrum on his campaign plane in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Wednesday, September 18, 2019. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP)

TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign moved to contain a growing scandal Thursday after a yearbook photo surfaced of him in brownface at a 2001 “Arabian Nights” costume party and two other similar incidents came to light.

With the election a month away, he apologised and begged Canadians to forgive him.

Time magazine published the photo on Wednesday, saying it was taken from the yearbook from the West Point Grey Academy, a private school in British Columbia where Trudeau worked as a teacher before entering politics. It shows the then-29-year-old Trudeau in a turban and robe with dark makeup on his hands, face and neck.

Trudeau, who launched his re-election campaign a week ago, said he should have known better.

“I’m pissed off at myself. I’m disappointed in myself,” he told reporters on his campaign plane.

Trudeau is the latest in a string of politicians to get in trouble over racially offensive photos and actions from their younger days.

Earlier this year, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam faced intense pressure to resign after a racist picture surfaced from his 1984 medical school yearbook page.

He denied being in the picture but admitted wearing blackface as a young man while portraying Michael Jackson at a dance party in the 1980s.

Since then, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has acknowledged wearing blackface in college, and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has apologised donning blackface during a college skit more than 50 years ago.

None of them stepped down.

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