Justin Trudeau busted wearing blackface, admits to more incidents, waits for his free pass

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Screen capture … Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau … Credit: CBC News

What happens to a politician when he is caught having worn blackface? It depends on his politics and how the media chooses to frame it. The latest lesson in liberal irony comes via Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s blackface image that has surfaced from a 2001 party.

Finally, on Wednesday, TIME magazine published a report saying: “The photograph has not been previously reported. The picture was taken at an ‘Arabian Nights’-themed gala. It shows Trudeau, then the 29-year-old son of the late former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, wearing a turban and robes with his face, neck and hands completely darkened. The photograph appears in the 2000-2001 yearbook of West Point Grey Academy, a private day school where Trudeau was a teacher.”

The blackface image, which TIME chose to call a brownface image, has reportedly been a source of gossip in the West Point Grey Academy community. It was recently provided to TIME by Vancouver businessman Michael Adamson, who first saw the photo in July and believed it should be brought to the public’s attention.

Speaking with reporters on his campaign plane last night, the progressive hero tried to contain the newest crisis endangering his reelection. “I shouldn’t have done that,” said Trudeau. “I should have known better and I didn’t. I’m really sorry.”

A reporter asked if he thought the photograph was racist, he replied: “Yes it was. I didn’t consider it racist at the time, but now we know better.”

Trudeau also admitted it wasn’t the first time he had worn blackface makeup. He said he had done so in high school to perform the song “Day-O” famously sung by African-American singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte. “I deeply regret that I did that,” the liberal politician said.

Regarding the blackface photo, Trudeau told reporters, “I’m pissed off at myself, I’m disappointed in myself,” according to the AP. “I should have known better then but I didn’t, and I am deeply sorry for it. I’m going to ask Canadians to forgive me for what I did. I shouldn’t have done that. I take responsibility for it. It was a dumb thing to do.”

The controversy adds to Trudeau’s reelection challenge as he faces stiff competition from Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, who commented that such behavior was as racist in 2001 as it is today. “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,” said Scheer.

Robert Bothwell, a professor of Canadian history and international relations at the University of Toronto, told the AP he was “gobsmacked” at the development. “We’ll just have to see how the party reacts,” he said. “I’m very curious to know how Liberal members of Parliament that are black will react.”

“The case has never been conclusively made that Justin is a person of substance,” he added. “I mean he may well be. But that impression is just not out there.”

 CNN – laying down cover fire for the progressive Canadian political icon – is already trying to use the story to bash Trump. Anchor Don Lemon indicated he was appreciative of Trudeau’s apology. “Wow, a leader apologizing. It seems odd, doesn’t it?” he said. “Because we have one who doesn’t.”

“I do have to say this before we go,” Lemon added. “Think about it however you want to think about it. When someone apologizes- wow! We don’t often see that here, especially in a world leader who is saying ‘I should’ve known better and I’m sorry.’ You can feel about it however you want, but that, to me, that does mean a lot.”

More realistically, Dave Rubin had some good commentary on the story …

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