Justin’s in Trouble

Justin Trudeau appeared in blackface/brownface, singing Day-O, in high school and as a teacher at a private school:

“The fact of the matter is, that I’ve always — you’ll know this — been more enthusiastic about costumes than is somehow, is sometimes appropriate, but these are the situations that I regret deeply,” said Trudeau.

In political terms, the quality of that statement is about as far away from “Just Watch Me” as is humanly possible.

Canada has an election on October 21, so this is a major case of bad timing for Justin, who already wasn’t looking great after being implicated in the SNC-Lavalin affair.






74 replies
  1. 1
    kindness says:

    I’ve never dressed in blackface (thank FSM) but this wouldn’t stop me from voting for Trudeau. The conservatives in Canada are as nuts as Trump. There are way more important issues. Same as here, keep your eye on the ball.

  2. 2
    Emma says:

    I have no brief for or against Trudeau, but… how old was he when it happened? In general, when does the statute of limitations kick in for stupid?
    I was a young adult in the seventies. Stupid was endemic. I know some folk who did some very stupid things as young adults and then grew up to be fine people. Does young/stupid always overpower adult/wise?
    Before anyone jumps on me, I’m saying stupid, not criminal.

  3. 3
    germy says:

    Canada has an election on October 21, so this is a major case of bad timing for Justin

    Purely coincidental bad timing, or have his opponents brought this to light for kneecapping purposes? I’d thought it was an old story he’d already apologized for.

  4. 4
    rp says:

    I could not care less and I suspect most Canadian voters feel the same way.

  5. 5
    Nicole says:

    @Emma:

    how old was he when it happened?

    In 2001, when he was 29. And a teacher. (dressed as Aladdin from Arabian Nights)
    The high school picture, of him appearing at a talent show singing “Day-O,” makes him look like a fucking idiot, especially for someone who chalked his stupidity up to an over-enthusiasm for cosplay. Had this guy ever actually SEEN a photo of Harry Belafonte?

  6. 6
    [Individual 1] mistermix says:

    @Emma: He was 29 when the second pic was taken, so probably old enough to know better.

    FWIW, I think he’ll weather it and the Libs will win again.

  7. 7
    chris says:

    @rp:

    I could not care less and I suspect most Canadian voters feel the same way.

    Yup. Stupid? Yes. Racist? No way! His opponent on the other hand…

  8. 8
    LightCastle says:

    As has been mentioned above, the Cons here are leaning more into the “white male resentment” playbook and so their appeal to “I’m disappointed in Justin” has gone down. (The rise of the PPC seems to have provoked the Cons to chase the resentment vote to try and win it back, and not triangulate to something else.)

    The blackface just plays into the general “Trudeau is a hypocrite and way more into the image of being progressive than actually doing the work”. That bothers people, but I don’t think it is very high up on the list of worries. The people this bothers don’t vote conservative, and people in Canada are hyper aware of the dangers of vote splitting. (It gave us Harper for a decade.) If anything, people worry about vote splitting too much, voting for Liberals to keep the Cons out in seats the Cons aren’t competitive in.

    This could push some people to Green or NPD, but it is doubtful that happens in seats where that matters much.

  9. 9
    NotMax says:

    Greenface (AFAIK) is still okay.

  10. 10
    Spanky says:

    I think the Canadians have seen enough evidence of what happens to a country when enough voters cosplay Purity. All they have to do is look to their south.

    This is (hopefully) screamingly obviously timed for the election. I count on them to keep their eye on what’s really at stake.

  11. 11
    Trabb’s Boy says:

    Canadian here and couldn’t care less. The blackface thing is so overblown. I get that the minstrel shows we’re shitty, and there are plenty of times now when assholes put on blackface in that same spirit, but any dark makeup means you’re an eeeeevil racist? Come on.

    Besides, the conservatives are nuts.

  12. 12
    The Moar You Know says:

    Shooting your best assets has never been a winning strategy.

    (see Franken, Al)

    Let’s see if the Canadians are one whit smarter than Americans. I’m betting not.

    Also, apparently this was broken by an American news outlet. Wonder which one?

    ETA: it’s Time magazine. Interesting. Wasn’t aware they were part of the conservative hit machine.

  13. 13
    Paul W. says:

    @The Moar You Know: Agree, also it is not “unfortunate timing” it feels a lot like trying to cut Trudeau’s legs out from under him in the run up to the election. Much like dirt from a certain district of the FBI that came out and “Had” to be addressed while giving a pass to actual conspiring between Trump and Russia was happening pretty much in plain sight.

  14. 14
    NotMax says:

    OT. On TCM at 12:30 p.m.. Eastern will be A Successful Calamity.

    Is it a great film? No. Is it a good film? Debatable. But –

    It is a chance to see a master actor (George Arliss), one whom no one would describe as having matinee idol looks, deploying his craft and commandeering attention outside of his usual film appearances as larger than life historical or fictional characters. With a subtle arch of an eyebrow, movement of lips (overly painted, a commonplace of the times) or twinkle of an eye he can convey more than most, and his easy-going, non-stilted manner, infused with subtle humor, remains refreshing.

    If ever you might have wondered what “screen presence” is, Arliss, even in his weakest vehicles, was a prime example.

  15. 15
    Yarrow says:

    Please don’t do anything stupid, Canada. Also, polling may not tell the whole story. Look at the most recent Australian elections where the conservatives were not forecast to win and then did.

  16. 16
    germy says:

    @NotMax: He was friends with Edwin Hubble!

  17. 17
    Amir Khalid says:

    Does the polling have a read yet on whether/how much Trudeau is affected?

  18. 18
    daveNYC says:

    I’m not surprised that this is coming out right before the election, but I’m surprised it’s coming out before this election. Did nobody in the Conservative or NDP party do any digging on him the first time around?

  19. 19
    LightCastle says:

    @Yarrow: The forecasting here is far too close for people who are just worried about the conservatives to be complacent. Justin owes his 2015 majority to people voting to “keep the conservatives out” in ridings they were never going to be in. But projections right now are far too neck and neck with the Cons for people to play cute with their votes. In places where I am, the Conservative hasn’t gone past 20% since the 90s, and is usually in the mid-teens. They aren’t getting the seat if people vote Green or NPD instead of Liberal. Where this matters is in the two way races in Ontario, where some people actually think Libs and Cons aren’t too far apart.

  20. 20
    LightCastle says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    Too early. Just came out. But the race overall is very tight.
    https://newsinteractives.cbc.ca/elections/poll-tracker/canada/

  21. 21
    NotMax says:

    @germy

    Very rarely comes around in rotation but if you should ever see The Green Goddess listed, make a mental note to watch at least some of it. Terrible movie, yet it is impossible to tear one’s eyes away from any scene in which Arliss, impishness ratcheted up to 11, appears. Anyone else on the set with him may as well have been a potted plant.

  22. 22
    rikyrah says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    ETA: it’s Time magazine. Interesting. Wasn’t aware they were part of the conservative hit machine.

    don’t the Koch Brothers own Time?

  23. 23
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @rikyrah: Does anybody still read Time?

  24. 24
    NotMax says:

    @Gin & Tonic

    Only those who are fast and Luce.

    :)

  25. 25
    The Moar You Know says:

    Only those who are fast and Luce.

    @NotMax: Ooooh, that’s very good. Bonus style points.

  26. 26
    germy says:

    Benny Gantz declares win after near-final Israel election results show deadlock; rebuffs Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ’s calls for power sharing https://t.co/64ZVKnJOUa via @WSJ— Michael C. Bender (@MichaelCBender) September 19, 2019

    Time for American conservatives to decry the anti-Semitism of Israeli voters! https://t.co/zrDqSsSjWC— Roy Edroso (@edroso) September 19, 2019

  27. 27
    germy says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    “Backward ran sentences until reeled the mind”

  28. 28
    Mike in NC says:

    Time magazine has done plenty of puff pieces on conservative politicians, including one for a rising star named Eric Cantor (R-VA) before he was cast out of Congress.

  29. 29
    rikyrah says:

    @germy:

    Benny Gantz declares win after near-final Israel election results show deadlock; rebuffs Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ’s calls for power sharing https://t.co/64ZVKnJOUa via @WSJ— Michael C. Bender (@MichaelCBender) September 19, 2019

    I don’t care if it’s even true…good for him for getting out front.

  30. 30
    Yarrow says:

    I see the tag is Foreign Affairs. Is Texas in that category? In any case, there is a major flooding disaster happening right now in east Texas around Winnie. I-10 is completely shut down due to flooding. People who flooded in Harvey are flooding again. The Beaumont 911 center is completely overloaded. The Cajun Navy is out rescuing people and are asking for extra boats and help. Local weather in Beaumont is reporting over 20 inches of rain since midnight and the rain keeps coming.

    It’s a major disaster and the rain isn’t letting up soon. It keeps back-building and now Kingwood, north east of Houston (Dan Crenshaw’s district) is flooding. Again. Just like in Harvey.

    The storm is the remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda, which made landfall a few days ago, moved north slowly but now has just kind of stalled. Models seem to indicate it may move out by late tonight, but we’ll see.

    I know everyone hates Texas and is happy to see Texans suffer and drown, but the people suffering are still people. I thought someone should at least mention this major disaster happening right now.

  31. 31
    Gin & Tonic says:

    I think we have verified Time’s relevance by the vintage of the references here. Henry Luce died in 1967, and Wolcott Gibbs wrote that parody in 1936.

  32. 32
    Baud says:

    Trump sues Manhattan district attorney Vance, Mazars

  33. 33
    Baud says:

    @Yarrow:

    Well, you mentioned it. I don’t know why you felt the passive aggressive comment at the end was necessary.

  34. 34
    Yarrow says:

    @Baud: It’s not passive aggressive. It’s what I’ve been told on this very website. That when Texans are dying in hurricanes and floods it’s a good thing because Texans vote the wrong way. I think that’s terrible, but even when I said I thought it was wrong I was told no, Texans vote Republican and therefore should die.

  35. 35
    Baud says:

    @Yarrow:

    Do you have a link?

  36. 36
    call me ishmael says:

    I live in one of the swing districts up here in America’s hat, and as far as I can tell these 2 scandal’s haven’t really moved the needle on Tory support. The continuing story in these parts is the split of the left and center between the NDP/Greens and Liberals and the ebb and flow of Quebec’s love/hate with federalism. Mostly, when the NDP has a strong leader they bleed off enough liberal support that the Tories get to form the government. After that, if the Tories don’t balls things up too bad, people can’t bother voting and just leave the status quo until things eventually becomes too bad to ignore. Remains to be seen if Singh is that strong, but he does seem like a pretty good guy.

    Tory support has become more entrenched (but not larger) overy time, partly due to them employing USA-style republican campaign (even as far as hiring consultants from the GOP), and outfits like the Rebel and Ezra Klein operating as a Canadian Breitbart style trolling operation on facebook, riling up the olds and Albertan churchies.They still don’t really have enough votes on the right to win without splitting the opposition. Ranked choice voting, which no-ones talking about (sadly), would be the end of the Canadian right wing.

    Not too much earth-shakingly bad policy happens here, especially in comparison to the dumpster fire down south that is all over the news, so its fundamentally a popularity contest. Scheer seems like a bit of a dick, so its hard to see him peel off too much of the squishy middle. The Tories seems to have abandoned their attempt at making Trudeau look like a weak little man, which is too bad, since I loved trolling facebookers with the Trudeau boxing match whenever possible.

    If I was a betting man, I’d wager we get a liberal minority with the NDP driving social policy for a bit, which probably suits a slim majority of the country while driving the Tory rump absolutely bonkers. Good times.

  37. 37
    germy says:

    Here’s an oddity. A 1930 movie (Just Imagine) that imagines life in 1980.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aJPUbNkvko

    aircraft have replaced cars, numbers have replaced names, pills have replaced food and liquor, and the only legal babies come from vending machines.

  38. 38
    Yarrow says:

    @Baud: I could find them but I’m not going to revisit that trauma by searching for the links. Anyone who wants to can do the work. I do know several Texans were so upset they quit posting here for the most part. They said they were upset at the time and were told the same thing.

  39. 39
    The Moar You Know says:

    there is a major flooding disaster happening right now in east Texas around Winnie. I-10 is completely shut down due to flooding. People who flooded in Harvey are flooding again. The Beaumont 911 center is completely overloaded. The Cajun Navy is out rescuing people and are asking for extra boats and help. Local weather in Beaumont is reporting over 20 inches of rain since midnight and the rain keeps coming.

    It’s a major disaster and the rain isn’t letting up soon.

    @Yarrow: I don’t hate Texas or Texans. My high school girlfriend was Texan. Got a soft spot for the Lunatic State.

    I do find it amazing that your post is literally the first I’ve heard of this, while in heavy contrast the entire world knew all the details about Donald Trump’s peen within 24 hours of the testimony of said peen viewer.

    Were I president, I’d give massive tax breaks to any organization that does straight 24/7 news only, no opinion whatsoever, and consign the rest to a legal category of “gossip ‘n bullshit” and tax the living shit out of them.

  40. 40
    rikyrah says:

    RIP 😪 😪
    Condolences to the family 🙏🙏

    Wife of Hse Maj Whip Jim Clyburn, Dr. Emily England Clyburn has died. The two were married for 58 yrs. Clyburn’s office notes the couple met in jail after he was arrested for campus activism. Svcs will be Sunday/Monday in SC

    — Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) September 19, 2019

  41. 41
    Baud says:

    @Yarrow:

    You don’t have to search, but I can’t evaluate your claims or assess who the culprits were.

  42. 42
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @The Moar You Know: It’s on the first page of CNN.com and in the top screen of my Google News feed. I think perhaps the fact that it is very localized may be affecting some of the coverage.

  43. 43
    Yarrow says:

    @The Moar You Know: Anything outside the east coast is barely covered by national news. It’s not in a major city like Houston, so it’ll get even less attention. One of the Beaumont TV stations is flooded so has had to shut down.

  44. 44
    Baud says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I saw coverage of it on the today show before the storm hit.

  45. 45
    The Moar You Know says:

    I could find them but I’m not going to revisit that trauma by searching for the links. Anyone who wants to can do the work. I do know several Texans were so upset they quit posting here for the most part. They said they were upset at the time and were told the same thing.

    @Yarrow: I just spent ten minutes looking, using every combination I can think of, and cannot verify.

    And it’s the kind of thing I’d expect to be posted here, some of our people are not the nicest (including me), but I am flat-out not finding it.

  46. 46
    Amir Khalid says:

    @rikyrah:
    Not no more. Per Wikipedia:

    In November 2017, Meredith Corporation announced its acquisition of Time, Inc., backed by Koch Equity Development. In March 2018, only six weeks after the closure of the sale, Meredith announced that it would explore the sale of Time and sister magazines Fortune, Money, Sports Illustrated, since they did not align with the company’s lifestyle brands.

    In September 2018, Meredith announced that it would re-sell Time to Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne for $190 million, which was completed on October 31, 2018. Although Benioff is the chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce.com, Time will remain separate from the company, and Benioff will not be involved in its daily operations. Time USA, LLC the parent company of the magazine is owned by Marc Benioff.

  47. 47
    Baud says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    some of our people are not the nicest (including me), 

    Or me, although no one has ever told me they were leaving because of my comments.

  48. 48
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @The Moar You Know: Beaumont is trending on twitter, and the weather channel (yeah, old) was covering TX flooding. I don’t watch CNN but I’d be surprised if they’re not covering it. MSNBC seems to be all politics, all the time

    @Yarrow: no question that there’s a hard East Coast bias in the media. I remember a few years back massive wild fires all over the mountain west were getting crowded out of the national news by some story about the fucking Yankees.

  49. 49
    rikyrah says:

    Speaking of the flooding and other problems,

    a segment from Maddow about all those at FEMA in higher positions either under indictment or investigation. The segment will make you disgusted.

    Trump FEMA nominee asks to withdraw his nomination

    Rachel Maddow reports on how federal corruption charges against a FEMA official and private contractor who secured billions in contracts to rebuild Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria connect to Donald Trump’s now-former nominee to be FEMA’s new administrator.

  50. 50
    rikyrah says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I don’t know. Maybe I’m just recalling things differently, but, I SWEAR duing 44’s Administation, that something like the Texas flooding would have gotten wall to wall cable news coverage.

  51. 51
  52. 52
    The Moar You Know says:

    no question that there’s a hard East Coast bias in the media. I remember a few years back massive wild fires all over the mountain west were getting crowded out of the national news by some story about the fucking Yankees.

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: CNN is not covering this anywhere.

    And yeah, I’m CA and the only time we make it onto most news feeds is if some Hollywood asshole rapes a kid or we have a massive earthquake. There was a period back in the later 90s and early 2000s where someone was feeding every whacko bit of local legislation in SF to the media for a once-a-week hatefest on those wacky Californians, but that’s stopped.

  53. 53
  54. 54

    Please, Canada, use your neighbor to the south as a cautionary tale and don’t do something stupid, just because Trudeau did.

  55. 55
    Jess says:

    I have a question for you all–should dressing in drag (for men outside of drag culture) be seen as problematic as dressing in blackface? My friend and I have been debating this.

  56. 56
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    CNN is not covering this anywhere.

    I don’t know about CNN the TV station, but on CNN.com it’s the first thing in the “Top Stories” column on the front page, and that story sent a bulletin from CNN to my iPhone earlier this morning.

  57. 57
    rikyrah says:

    I met my wife in a SC jail. This photo was taken 15 mos. later. Emily reminds me to fight 4 #womensrights & #equalpay pic.twitter.com/mjH8XnYY81

    — James E. Clyburn (@WhipClyburn) July 15, 2014

  58. 58
    Aleta says:

    @The Moar You Know: yeah really. The public owns the fcking airwaves, or so I thought. I’d like to see pres. candidates * receive an equal amount of free TV time every pres. election for their pitches, and no paid ads. It’s our election and our freaking airwaves and access is being sold?!! at prices set by corporations?
    * How to define wd become a problem, I know.

  59. 59
    Cathie Fonz (formerly Cathie from Canada) says:

    @call me ishmael: Good summary! Personally, I will never forgive Jack Layton for pulling the rug out from under Paul Martin before the Kelowna Accords could be made into law.

  60. 60
    Josie says:

    MSNBC is showing the flooding in east Texas right now with a thorough report.

  61. 61
    JR says:

    @Jess: No — because blackface is inherently associated with violence in a way that drag is not. I could be convinced otherwise, though.

  62. 62
    Brachiator says:

    Canada has an election on October 21, so this is a major case of bad timing for Justin

    So, three photos have been released. This ain’t “bad timing,” it’s pretty damned deliberate. I guess we will see whether Canadian voters fall for this sucker bait.

    @JR:

    because blackface is inherently associated with violence in a way that drag is not

    I don’t think this is true at all. But people can make up tropes and associations to magnify, or reduce, the racist significance of blackface.

  63. 63
    sukabi says:

    @rikyrah: saw yhat last night and wondered — how is this not headline news on all the stations? But we’ve also got trump selling out the country on phone calls to foreign countries, Sooooo….

    The graphic she put up that had the DHS personnel listed…All top spots “acting”…and of those …the number of investigations and indictments. 😵

  64. 64
    Aleta says:

    Trudeau could write about racist incidents that happened in 2001 toward indigenous people and other nonwhites in Canada. Explain why his ‘unawareness’ or indifference in 2001 was part of white culture and his lack of education, even as a teacher.

    He could explain that treating his act as foolish comedy that was OK in the past in “our culture” (“It was a different time” “We were young and foolish”) loses weight when you ask who “we” is and what else was going on in that time, who else was there.

    It’s a good time for Trudeau to add strong proposals in his campaign messages for new anti-racist education and programs. When he gets questions about his blackface, instead of Sanders-tyoe and Biden-type defensiveness about getting back to the issues, he could explain how white indifference and racist assumptions occur without awareness with all whites; him too. Just as indifference and blindness to poverty occur with those who are well off. Explain that anti-racist programs are for whites like him, and he wants to keep learning. That it’s part of stopping the violence in society that affects everyone.

  65. 65
    Adam C says:

    That’s a bit of an unfair excerpt of his apology:

    “In 2001, when I was a teacher in Vancouver, I attended a gala. The theme was Arabian Nights. I dressed up in an Aladdin costume and put makeup on. I shouldn’t have done that. I should have known better, but I didn’t and I’m really sorry.

    “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.”

  66. 66
    guachi says:

    There’s a line between celebrating a culture and diminishing it. Because of the history of blackface in America basically any version of face makeup falls into the diminishing category. Almost everything else is fair game – hair, costumes, accessories, food, furnishings – but not face makeup.

  67. 67
    david says:

    Amazing how people will contort themselves to cape for “their guy”.

  68. 68
    Gex says:

    @Jess: If I were your friend, I’d look at what Billy Porter is doing. He is a cis gay man, trying to change the way clothing is gendered in the first place. None of this is inherently gendered.

    ETA I don’t think it need be problematic, depending on how he approaches it.

    ETA2: Especially what JR said.

  69. 69
    burnspbesq says:

    @david:

    In this case, it’s not contortion, it’s perspective.

    It’s easy to say, in 2019, that what Trudeau apparently did in 2001 is out of bounds.

    It’s also easy to say, in 2019, that what Trudeau apparently did in 2001 should always have been recognized as out of bounds.

    The second statement is deeply ahistorical. Like it or not, up until fairly recently shit lake that was not only tolerated, it was seen as edgy, cool, and funny.

    Litmus tests are bad. Ex post facto litmus tests are doubleplusbad.

  70. 70
    Lyrebird says:

    @Yarrow: Will cosign that some people have said that. But please don’t judge all by the most biting of comments, as I also usually see others saying hey, they’re people! and frankly, some of them are people whose votes were suppressed anyhow, should not blame them for Cruz etc.

    Thanks for raising the issue, and please stay dry!

  71. 71
    Trabb's Boy says:

    Oh Christ. Two more instances. I was willing to poo-poo one, but three? What an oblivious, empty-headed fuckhead. We always knew he was an intellectual lightweight, and that he thinks he is much, much cooler than he is, but three times without learning a lesson?

    The thing is, we have no choice. Get him reelected then try to get the Liberal Party to have a leadership change.

  72. 72
  73. 73
    Yarrow says:

    @Lyrebird: I sometimes see that. Usually not. Or if it’s there, the comments saying, “Hey, these are people” will be few in a a sea of “fuck those people.” It’s pretty appalling behavior, but whatever.

  74. 74
    J R in WV says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Also, apparently this was broken by an American news outlet. Wonder which one?

    ETA: it’s Time magazine. Interesting. Wasn’t aware they were part of the conservative hit machine.

    Time magazine has always been right wing. Supported everything NIxon ever did, except his move to open up to China. Oh, yeh, and the environmental acts he signed. Hate that also.

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