Canada PM Justin Trudeau Admits to Wearing 'Blackface' as Old Photo Emerges
Liberal Canadian prime minister in hot water as image shows him wearing 'brownface' makeup
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has apologized after an old photo emerged showing him wearing "brownface" makeup at a party when he was a private school teacher 18 years ago.
Canada's liberal leader also confessed to wearing "blackface" in high school to perform as African-American singer Harry Belafonte, admitting that his decisions were "racist."
The photo was published by TIME magazine on Wednesday and shows then-29-year-old Trudeau at a party in 2001 wearing brown makeup on his face, neck, and hands while wearing a turban and robe.
Trudeau admits that he wore the racist costume to attend an "Arabian Nights" themed gala at the private school in Vancouver where he was teaching at the time - West Point Grey Academy.
The photo was discovered in a 2001 West Point Grey Academy yearbook.
During a Wednesday night press conference from his reelection campaign plane, Trudeau acknowledged that the costume was racist and said he should have known better.
"I'm p***ed off at myself, I'm disappointed in myself," he admitted.
The emergence of the photo comes just one week after Trudeau launched his campaign and could undermine his chances for re-election with less than five weeks to go before Canada's election.
He was a member of the West Point Grey Academy community, but he did not attend the party of faculty, staff and students’ parents.
He came across the photograph in July and felt it should be made public.
Exclusive: Justin Trudeau wore brownface at 2001 ‘Arabian Nights’ party while he taught at a private school, Canada's Liberal Party admits https://t.co/j3UobfYNIF— TIME (@TIME) September 18, 2019
Trudeau admitted to reporters that this was not the only time he had darkened his skin to appear a different race-- he said he also did it once during a high school talent show.
The photo became public just one week after Trudeau launched his reelection campaign vying for a second term.
Elections will be held on Oct. 21.
It also came a month after Canada’s ethics commissioner accused the PM of pressuring Canada’s former attorney general to stop the criminal prosecution of an engineering firm accused of using bribes to secure government contracts.
Two of Trudeau’s most esteemed cabinet ministers left the government over the scandal.
The prime minister’s office did not return a request for comment, nor did the Liberal Party of Canada.
However, the media relations lead for the Liberal Party, Zita Astravas, confirmed to Time it was Trudeau in the photo.
“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,'” said Astravas.
"He attended with friends and colleagues dressed as a character from Aladdin."
Astravas said Trudeau will address the photo to reporters Wednesday evening.
Trudeau was not the only one in ethnic garb for the party, but he appears to be the only one who has darkened his skin, or at least the only one featured in yearbook photos.
Trudeau has been criticized on cultural appropriation counts before, such as in 2018 when he and his family wore elaborate Indian traditional dress while on a trip to India, according to the BBC.