Justin Trudeau is faced with harsh criticism and tough questions after TIME published a photo of him from 2001 in brownface makeup. The onslaught of criticism, however, has led to more shocking discoveries: images of the Liberal leader wearing racist makeup at two additional events from his youth.
When faced asked to explain himself TIME photo, the leader was apologetic:
“I shouldn’t have done that. I should have known better,” Trudeau said following the image’s release.
Trudeau confirmed that the first photo was taken at an “Arabian Nights” themed end-of-year gala while he was a private school teacher in Vancouver in 2001.
Canadaland has published a second photo of Trudeau at the gala, which is from the school’s April 2001 newsletter.
In the same apology, Trudeau also disclosed that in high school, he sang the Jamaican song Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) in a talent show with makeup on, but did not provide additional specifics. Images of the alleged performance began to surface on the web:
Exclusive. Sources have confirmed to me that this is THE picture of @JustinTrudeau in blackface from high school that he referenaced in his press conference. From the year book at Brebeuf college. #cdnpoli He is singing Day Oh apparently. pic.twitter.com/ivBPoxbXi8— Evan Solomon (@EvanLSolomon) September 19, 2019
Still, Trudeau was relentlessly apologetic.
“It was something that I didn’t think was racist at the time,” Trudeau said. “It was a dumb thing to do. I’m pissed off at myself.”
Thursday morning, after the scandal broke, Global News released a third instance of Trudeau in racist makeup.
Scheer admits his campaign knew about shocking photo
Andrew Scheer, the leader of the federal Conservative party, made a public statement condemning Trudeau’s photo.
“It was just as racist in 2001 as it is in 2019,” Scheer said.
“What Canadians saw this evening is someone with a complete lack of judgement and integrity and someone who is not fit to govern this country.”
Following the release of additional images and a video of Trudeau in brownface and blackface, Scheer said this shows a habit of Trudeau’s and Canadians maybe would have been able to accept his apology if he hadn’t lied about it, saying that there were only two incidents but now there are at least three.
“An apology based on a lie is not a real apology,” Scheer told the public during an announcement in Quebec. “One set of rules for himself and one set of rules for the rest of us.”
The Conservative leader said he personally became aware of the initial photo when it was published by TIME and he first saw the video on Global News on Thursday morning. But he did admit that “an individual” approached his campaign with a video that was sent to a news outlet for verification. He did not specify when his campaign first saw the video on Trudeau in blackface.
Jagmeet Singh appeals to youth after scandal erupts
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh responded to the photo saying it “jarred” him. With tears in his eyes, Singh said he is commenting to send a message to people in Canada, particularly young people, to not give up on Canada.
Tonight is not about the Prime Minister.— Jagmeet Singh (@theJagmeetSingh) September 19, 2019
It's about every young person mocked for the colour of their skin.
The child who had their turban ripped off their head.
And those reliving intense feelings of pain & hurt from past experiences of racism.
To you, I say you are loved.
“I always fought against racism but it’s my friends who sent messages and I remembered it wasn’t the same...for everyone,” Singh said.
“We are going to come together and take care of one another.”
Scheer responded to Singh’s statement, commending the NDP leader for his “genuine concern,” speaking on behalf of many Canadians who have faced racist actions.
“[Jagmeet Singh] responded with a lot of class and dignity,” Scheer said.
Singh said that Canadians will have to answer the question of whether or not Trudeau is in fact racist.
“I can tell you that I am deeply troubled by what this means to Canada,” he said on Thursday morning.
I am 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.— Elizabeth May (@ElizabethMay) September 19, 2019
Green Party leader Elizabeth May took to social media to make a statement about the photo saying she is “deeply shocked” by the “racism.”
I’m not going to accuse @JustinTrudeau of being a racist.— Maxime Bernier (@MaximeBernier) September 19, 2019
But he’s the master of identity politics and the Libs just spent months accusing everyone of being white supremacists.
He definitely is the biggest hypocrite in the country.
People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier also took to social media to comment on the photo of Trudeau, calling him “the biggest hypocrite in the country.”
When asked if he should be forced to resign and the general future as the leader of the Liberal party, Trudeau is asking Canadians to forgive him but will continue to fight against racism and discrimination.
“I have made a number of calls to friends and colleagues tonight, and I will have many more calls tonight,” Trudeau said.
He was also asked if there are additional photos or racist incidents that Canadians to be aware of. Trudeau responded by saying he has “always been more enthusiastic about costumes than is sometimes appropriate.” Trudeau says this calls for more “important conversations.”
Here’s what Canadians are saying about the photo on social media: