'He has to answer for it': Canadian politicians pile on Justin Trudeau over his brownface Aladdin outfit from 2001

AP/CBC/Business InsiderA composite image showing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, apologizing for a brownface image of him from 2001, alongside Jagmeet Singh, top left, and Andrew Scheer, bottom left, who criticised Trudeau.
  • Politicians in Canada condemned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday after the publication of a photograph showing him wearing brownface makeup in 2001.
  • The photograph was published Wednesday by Time magazine. It shows Trudeau attending an “Arabian Nights” party in which he dressed as Aladdin. His hands and face were darkened and he wore a turban.
  • The leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, Jagmeet Singh – a Sikh who wears a turban – said the act was “insulting” and Trudeau “has to answer for it.”
  • The Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, said “brownface was racist in 2001 and is still racist in 2019.”
  • Canada is in the midst of an election in which Trudeau is fighting for a second term in office.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Politicians in Canada have roundly condemned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over a photograph showing him wearing brownface makeup at a party in 2001.

The photo was published Wednesday by Time magazine and depicts a 29-year-old Trudeau in an Aladdin costume. He was a schoolteacher at the time.

In the image, Trudeau’s face and hands were covered in dark makeup, and he wore a turban:

Read More:
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wore brownface and a turban during an ‘Arabian Nights’ themed party in 2001

Politicians from rival parties condemned Trudeau, who apologised and acknowledged that wearing the costume was a racist act.

The leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party, Jagmeet Singh – a Sikh who wears a turban – said Trudeau’s costume was “insulting” and “troubling.”

“Any time we hear examples of brownface or blackface it’s making a mockery of someone for what their lived experiences are,” he said.

Singh later tweeted that the image would bring up “intense feelings of pain & hurt” in people marginalised for their appearance and that they should be the focus of the news cycle rather than Trudeau.

Elizabeth May, the leader of Canada’s Green Party, said she was “deeply shocked at the racism shown in the photograph of Justin Trudeau.” She said he had “failed” to set an example of social justice.

The leader of the opposition Conservative Party, Andrew Scheer, said “brownface was racist in 2001 and is racist in 2019.”

“What Canadians saw this evening was someone with a complete lack of judgment and integrity and someone who is not fit to govern this country.”

Maxime Bernier, the founder and leader of the right-leaning People’s Party of Canada, made a point of not calling Trudeau a racist but instead accused him of hypocrisy.

He said in a tweet the prime minister was “the biggest hypocrite in the country.”

Trudeau, who is in the midst of campaigning for an election, has apologised for his actions publicly.

When asked whether the incident was a one-off, he told reporters it was not.

Trudeau described dressing up in blackface at a high-school talent show to sing “Day-O,” a Jamaican folk song performed by the African American singer and activist Harry Belafonte.

Here is a video of the full apology:

More photos emerged on Thursday from the same event in an archived newsletter of the school Trudeau worked at.

Trudeau appears to be the only guest at the event with blackface.

Read More:
2nd photo shows Justin Trudeau at 2001 Arabian Nights’ Party, where he seems to be the only one in brownface

Trudeau Blackface 2 school newsletterWayback Machine/West Point Grey AcademyThis photo of Justin Trudeau in blackface was published in the West Point Grey Academy newsletter in April 2001.
Trudeau View Point School party brownfaceWayback Machine/West Point Grey AcademyGuests attend a party at the school where Justin Trudeau taught in 2001.

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Video shows Justin Trudeau wearing blackface, the 3rd similar image published in less than 24 hours.

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