It won’t be campaigning as usual for Justin Trudeau Thursday as a third instance of the Liberal leader wearing skin-darkening makeup has emerged.
A video of Trudeau in blackface, first reported by Global News, came to light just hours after the prime minister apologized profusely for having indulged in what he acknowledged was a racist act of wearing brownface.
First, an 18-year-old photo surfaced of Trudeau dressed elaborately as Aladdin, his face and hands darkened by makeup during an “Arabian Nights”-themed party at the Vancouver private school where he once taught.
Trudeau also confessed Wednesday night to having worn makeup during a high-school talent show, while performing a version of Harry Belafonte’s “Banana Boat Song (Day-O).”
Now, Global News has published a video of a young Trudeau in blackface, showing him sticking out his tongue for the camera and raising his arms over his head.
A Liberal spokesperson confirmed its authenticity and said it was filmed in the early 1990s.
The prime minister delivered a raw apology at a gathering on Thursday afternoon during his visit in Winnipeg. He said he’s embarrassed of these incidents, adding he didn’t understand how hurtful this is to people who live with discrimination every day.
“It wasn’t a good idea, it was a terrible idea,” stated Trudeau. “I need to take responsibility for mistakes that hurt people who thought I was an ally, who hopefully many of them still consider me as an ally.”
When asked if he can confirm any other instances where he’s darkened his skin, he admitted he’s wary of being definitive about other situations after he didn’t remember the recent pictures and video that came out.
Trudeau has conceded it will take some doing to restore his image as a champion of diversity and tolerance.
“I’m asking Canadians to forgive me for what I did,” he said Wednesday night during an emergency news conference aboard the Liberal campaign plane before taking off from Halifax for Winnipeg.
“I shouldn’t have done that. It was a dumb thing to do. I’m disappointed in myself. I’m pissed off at myself for having done it. I apologize for it.”
He added that he didn’t consider it a racist action at the time, “but now we know better.
“This is something unacceptable and it is racist.”
He said he’ll spend this morning talking to his three kids about “taking responsibility for mistakes we make, about living every day to try to be a better person.” And he said he’ll be spending time talking to visible minority Liberal MPs and candidates, some of whom he spoke with Wednesday evening.
Trudeau’s foes will no doubt also be grappling with the fallout while they go about their more routine campaigning. They all responded Wednesday night, but now have to weigh whether to pile on Trudeau or adhere to the political maxim of never interfering when an opponent is the process of destroying themselves.