Politics

Liberal Party confirms 3rd instance of Trudeau wearing blackface

The Liberal Party has confirmed Justin Trudeau appeared in a short amateur video in blackface — a third instance of Trudeau appearing in racist makeup in the past — less than 12 hours after he admitted to wearing such makeup on just two occasions and acknowledged the actions were "racist."
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau arrives before making a statement in regards to photo coming to light of himself from 2001 wearing "brownface" during a scrum on his campaign plane in Halifax, N.S., on Wednesday. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

The Liberal Party has confirmed Justin Trudeau appeared in a short amateur video in blackface — a third instance of Trudeau appearing in racist makeup in the past — less than 12 hours after he admitted to wearing such makeup on just two occasions and acknowledged the actions were "racist."

The confirmation comes after Time Magazine dropped a bombshell story on Wednesday night featuring a 2001 photo of Trudeau in brownface and a turban, taken at a gala at a private school where Trudeau taught 18 years ago.

Global News obtained this video of Justin Trudeau in blackface at an unspecified event. 0:58

When asked about the incident Wednesday night, Trudeau also admitted to a second instance of racist behaviour. "When I was in high school I dressed up at a talent show and sang Day-O with makeup on," he said.

This morning, the party confirmed a third instance of Trudeau being filmed in racist makeup, as first reported by Global News.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer react after Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau apologized for appearing in brownface in 2001 on Wednesday. 0:57

It's not clear where the video was taken. It appears to show Trudeau with his face and arms covered in black makeup, raising his hands in the air while laughing and sticking out his tongue.

"We can confirm that it is him and it's from the early 1990s," said a Liberal Party spokesperson in a statement.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says it will be 'tough' to shake Justin Trudeau's hand after a photo surfaced of the Liberal leader in brownface. 0:42

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer later confirmed the video had been sent to his team originally, which then passed it on to Global for "verification."

A Liberal source says Trudeau held a conference call with his candidates Thursday morning to apologize. He will address the media at 2:15 p.m. ET in Winnipeg before flying to Saskatoon.

The photos have disrupted the Liberals' campaign plans. Until now, Trudeau has had morning events on every day of the federal election campaign.

For the first time during the campaign, Trudeau and his team stayed at a different hotel than members of the media Wednesday night.

Speaking to reporters on his campaign plane Wednesday night in Nova Scotia, Trudeau apologized for his actions, saying he now recognizes they were racist.

"I shouldn't have done that. I should have known better, but I didn't and I'm really sorry," he said. "I take responsibility for my decision to do that. I shouldn't have done it. I should have known better.

"It was something that I didn't think was racist at the time, but now I recognize it was something racist to do and I am deeply sorry."

Trudeau's apology based on 'a lie': Scheer

The story dominated the other leaders' campaign events today. 

Scheer said the emergence of the video shows Trudeau's Wednesday night apology was based on "a lie."

"I believe Canadians might have been able to accept his apology if he had been truthful and open, if he hadn't based that apology on a lie," Scheer said during a stop in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer spoke to reporters in Saint Hyacinthe, Quebec on Thursday 2:11

"He was specifically asked if there were other instances where he engaged in that type of racist behaviour and he indicated there was only one other instance. Now we know there [were] at least three."

Asked today if he's ever dressed in any way that would be deemed offensive, Scheer said he has not.

"I'm not perfect and I don't claim to be a saint, but nothing would come up to that level," he said.

During an interview with John Moore, host of Newstalk 1010 in Toronto, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was asked if he'll smile and shake Trudeau's hand at the first leaders' debate.

"It's going to be tough," he said. "To be honest with you, I don't really know how to react. This is someone who so casually mocked the reality for so many people and has hurt a lot of Canadians with this."

Reactions to a photo of Justin Trudeau in brownface from a 2001 gala at a Vancouver school ranged from questioning the Liberal leader's judgment to one person worrying instead about the bigger issues. 1:33

Where the leaders are:

You can watch streaming video of available live events on this page throughout the day.

All times are Eastern Time, unless otherwise noted.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh:

  • 7:20 a.m. Media appearance on Newstalk 1010's Moore in the Morning in Toronto.
  • 8 a.m. Media appearance on CTV's Your Morning in Toronto.
  • 10 a.m. Announcement about small businesses in Hamilton.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau:

  • 2:15 p.m.  – Trudeau will hold a media availability in Winnipeg
  • 8 p.m.  –Trudeau will deliver remarks in Saskatoon, Sask.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer:

  • 10:30 a.m. Announcement and media availability in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.
  • Local brewery visit in Granby, Que., with Conservative candidate Nathalie Clermont.
  • 5 p.m. Campaigning with Conservative candidate Dany Sévigny in Sherbrooke, Que.


Green Party Leader Elizabeth May:

  • Noon (9 a.m. PT) At the B.C. Assembly of First Nations general assembly in Vancouver.
  • 6: p.m. (3 p.m. PT) Canvassing in Burnaby, B.C., with volunteers.

People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier:

  • Not yet available.

BQ Leader Yves-François Blanchet:

  • Not yet available.

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