The Internet had a lot to say about a photo of Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau in brownface at a Vancouver party in 2001.
The photo was revealed in a story TIME magazine published on Wednesday afternoon.
According to TIME, the photo of Trudeau was taken at West Point Grey Academy, a private school in Vancouver, where he was a teacher at the time. It was published in the school’s yearbook.
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The event was an “Arabian Nights”- themed gala and Trudeau was reportedly the only attendee wearing dark coloured make-up.
Many took to Twitter to voice their disappointment with the Prime Minister, calling his decision to wear brownface makeup racist while some said they did not find the photo offensive.
Trudeau addressed the photo in a brief press conference on Wednesday evening.
“I shouldn’t have done that, I should’ve known better, but I didn’t, and I’m really sorry,” he said. “Obviously, I regret that I did it.”
The party leader said he has worked all his life “to create opportunities for people, to fight against racism and intolerance, and I can stand here and say that I made a mistake when I was younger and I wish I hadn’t. I did it, and I’m deeply sorry.”
Here’s how people reacted on social media.
Turns out Jagmeet Singh is *not* the first person wearing a turban to run for Prime Minister pic.twitter.com/RV8fUGYavp
— Kai Nagata 🇨🇦 (@kainagata) September 18, 2019
This was gross when kids did it at #queensu did it. It’s gross when it’s a celebrity, it’s gross when it’s a conservative, it’s gross when our PM. I’m appalled, and you should be, too, regardless of your political stripe. #elxn43 https://t.co/MkxKhdhzFa
— Natasha Kornak (@natasha_kornak) September 18, 2019
that’s the prime minister of Canada in brownface. pic.twitter.com/2ZouSgiCSY
— Sana Saeed (@SanaSaeed) September 18, 2019
Trying to work out what’s more idiotic:
Justin Trudeau being a 29-year-old teacher and browning himself up
The fact that he browned himself up to play Aladdin, arguably the whitest character in the movie. pic.twitter.com/gEcuD0krmv
— Hanna Ines Flint (@HannaFlint) September 18, 2019
I was not mentally prepared for the Trudeau pic
— Rob Rousseau (@robrousseau) September 19, 2019
The #brownface photo is from 2001…where was it in 2015?
— Tom Harrington (@cbctom) September 18, 2019
Hey Canada: Stop making excuses for racism. Thanks#elxn43
— Ian Bushfield (@ibushfield) September 18, 2019
— Carol Roth (@caroljsroth) September 19, 2019
Justin Trudeau’s love for playing dress up finally catches up with him.
— Jack Gerard (@jackgerard) September 19, 2019
@JustinTrudeau I’m overwhelmingly proud of how you take responsibility & accountability for your actions. We’ve all done dumb/regrettable things in our lives…past & even present. Prime Minister, we are not defined by our mistakes, we are defined by what we learn from them. ❤️🇨🇦
— Riderette (@nicodemus2019) September 19, 2019
— Ｄａｌｂｙ (@Dalby) September 18, 2019
People are entitled to feel differently about this, of course. But I’ll be honest: as a person with brown (or brown-adjacent ) skin, I’m personally not terribly offended by the #brownface. I try to be charitable in such cases and will assume it was a dumb joke w/o malice. But…. pic.twitter.com/K3qub9WB7z
— Kaveh Shahrooz کاوه شهروز (@kshahrooz) September 18, 2019
The fact that #AndrewScheer, as a Member of Parliament, can stand in the House of Commons and compare same-sex marriage to dog tails and get a pass shows just how homophobic society is. If he can still lead, so can #Trudeau.#cdnpoli #elxn43 #Scheer #brownface #lgbt
— Jason Pugh (@TheJasonPugh) September 19, 2019
— Ryan Keenan (@rxkeenan) September 19, 2019
— Taylor-Mae (@TaylorMae_Atk) September 19, 2019
I’m seeing a lot of white people defending @JustinTrudeau. Other than at the ballot box, I don’t think it’s our place to defend him or determine how outraged (or not) we are. Maybe we should listen to other ethnic minorities who this targets. #brownface #arabiannights #elxn43
— Robbie Kreger-Smith (@RKSAlberta) September 19, 2019
What Trudeau did was shitty, but one thing I appreciate about him is he takes accountability and genuinely apologized.
Scheer has yet to do that with LGBTQ, and a whole lot of problems for him would go away if he did the same.
— Doug 🌈 (@DougYEG) September 19, 2019
In grade 8, I did #brownface as part of my Hallowe’en costume. I now regret that, and I have for many years. But it was in 1985, not 2001. And I was 13, not 29.
— hipppersons〰️the extra p is for pottery (@hippersons) September 19, 2019
“I’m really sorry”
“I’m pissed off at myself”
“I made a mistake”
“I regret deeply what I’ve done”
“I’m going to ask Canadians to forgive me”
“I take responsibility for my actions”
“The Conservatives won’t re-open the debate” #CDNpoli
— Paulo Senra (@paulosenra) September 19, 2019