Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was photographed wearing brownface at a gala at his place of employment in 2001. Trudeau was 29 at the time and working as a teacher at a private school, according to a report from TIME Magazine published Wednesday.
The image of Trudeau wearing a turban with his face, neck, and hands darkly colored appeared in the yearbook of West Point Grey Academy, a school in Vancouver.
TIME writes: “only Trudeau appears to have darkened his skin.”
Liberal Party spokeswoman Zita Astravas said she could confirm that the person in the photo was Trudeau.
“He attended with friends and colleagues dressed as a character from Aladdin,” Astravas said.
The gala was a nice classic “Arabian Nights” theme, obviously. Trudeau appears, in my opinion, to have fashioned his costume directly from the 1992 Disney animated movie:
It should also be noted that in the photo, Trudeau is clutching one woman across the chest. Doesn’t exactly look comfy.
Sadly, Trudeau would have made a really handsome Prince Eric at an “Under the Sea” themed gala and clearly missed his chance.
He can’t even try to even use the excuse that he was a kid. This wasn’t a party for students; it was a work party. People in attendance included school faculty, administrators and parents of students. These were Trudeau’s colleagues, supervisors, and the parents who were paying to send their students to learn from him.
Trudeau apologized on Wednesday in a statement to reporters, saying: “I shouldn’t have done that. I should have known better and I didn’t. I’m really sorry.”
He admitted the costume was racist, saying: “Yes it was. I didn’t consider it racist at the time, but now we know better.”
He also said that in a high school talent show, he had worn “makeup” to sing the Jamaican folk song “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song).”
“I deeply regret that I did that,” he said.
“I’m pissed off at myself, obviously,” he added. “I’m disappointed in myself and I’m apologizing to Canadians.”
He also told reporters: “I’ve always — and you’ll know this — been more enthusiastic about costumes than is sometimes appropriate.”
Has anyone checked the other yearbooks for more? Is there a “Day-O” picture? You know how to reach us!