Jennifer Smith and Emily Crane, Daily Mail, September 19, 2109
Two damning photographs of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in blackface have emerged hours after he apologized for putting on brown make-up to attend an Arabian Nights party in 2001.
In the first new photograph, Trudeau is dressed up as Jamaican singer Harry Belafonte to sing Day-O, a Jamaican song, at Jean Brebeuf High School at a talent show. He graduated from the school in the early 1990s.
The second is taken from a video which is undated but was given to Global News on Wednesday. The outlet confirmed with a senior member of the Liberal campaign that it was Trudeau.
It shows him with a black face and raising his arms and sticking his tongue out while dressed in a white t-shirt and jeans.
On Wednesday, he apologized over a different photo which was taken in 2001 when he was a 29-year-old teacher. That image showed him dressed in a turban and white robe with brown make-up on his face to attend an Arabian Nights party.
In a press conference held on his campaign plane, he acknowledged that the photo was racist and said he should have known better.
‘I’m p***ed off at myself, I’m disappointed in myself,’ he said.
He also mentioned the high school photo before it emerged, saying: ‘When I was in high school I dressed up at a talent show and sang ‘Day-O’ with makeup on.’
The scandal comes just one week after the squeaky-clean politician launched his campaign and could undermine his chances for re-election with less than five weeks to go before Canada’s election.
Trudeau said the brownface photo was taken at an end of year gala where the theme was Arabian Nights and he dressed up in an Aladdin costume.
‘I should have known better then but I didn’t, and I am deeply sorry for it,’ he said.
‘I shouldn’t have done that. I take responsibility for it. It was a dumb thing to do.’
He also admitted to wearing black makeup in high school to perform a version of African-American singer Harry Belafonte’s song ‘Banana Boat Song (Day-O)’ during a talent show.
‘These are the situations I regret deeply,’ he said.
Trudeau said it was a racist act but he didn’t realize it at the time and that he knows better now.
He acknowledged that he had ‘always been more enthusiastic about costumes than is sometimes appropriate’.
Trudeau was impersonating singer Harry Belafonte in the high school performance. Belafonte, dubbed the King of Calypso, is shown, left, in 1954, two years before he released Day-O, and right, in 2006. He is 92 now
He asked Canadians to forgive him and said he would continue to fight intolerance and discrimination.
Trudeau repeatedly said he would take responsibility for his past mistakes but refused to say why he hadn’t spoken about the existence of the racist photo sooner.
The Liberal Party of Canada had earlier confirmed that Trudeau, who is the leader of their political party, was in the photo.
‘I shouldn’t have done that. I should have known better, but I didn’t, and I’m really sorry. It was a dumb thing to do
‘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’,’ the party’s media relations lead said.
‘He attended with friends and colleagues dressed as a character from Aladdin.’
He worked at the private school before entering politics and at the same time his father Pierre Trudeau was Canada’s Prime Minister.
Trudeau taught French, among other classes, when he was a teacher at the private school where tuition is about $23,000 a year.
He left his teaching position there after spring in 2001.
The photo emerged publicly for the first time on Wednesday after a tip from a Vancouver businessman Michael Adamson who was said to be part of the West Point Grey Academy community.
Adamson didn’t attend the party but came across the photo in the yearbook in July and believed it should be made public.
The photo emerged a month before Canada’s general election scheduled for October 21.
Trudeau, who has been in power since 2015, is facing a tough re-election battle against the main opposition Conservatives led by Andrew Scheer.
He has been admired by liberals around the world for his progressive policies in the Trump era, with Canada accepting more refugees than the United States.
His Liberal government has also strongly advocated free trade.
Trudeau has come under fire of late following one of the biggest scandals in Canadian political history, which arose when Trudeau’s former attorney general said he improperly pressured her to halt the criminal prosecution of a company in Quebec.
Trudeau has said he was standing up for jobs.
He is but the latest politician to face scrutiny over racially insensitive photos and actions from their younger days.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was embroiled in a blackface controversy back in February in relation to his own yearbook pictures.
Northam initially apologized but then later denied he was pictured in a 1984 medical yearbook photo that showed a man wearing blackface and another dressed in a Ku Klux Klan hood.