POLITICS
09/19/2019 19:34 EDT | Updated 09/21/2019 08:22 EDT

Trudeau’s Blackface Controversy Manifests As Racist Graffiti In B.C.

Photos of Justin Trudeau in racist makeup have made international headlines.

OTTAWA — A federal Liberal candidate in B.C. says his campaign signs were vandalized in an attempt to tie his campaign to recently surfaced racist images of the prime minister in blackface. 

Stephen Fuhr told HuffPost Canada Thursday that his face was coloured in — with the exception of his mouth and eyes — with thick, black marker. “All parties experience some sort of vandalism. It just kind of goes with the punches,” he said. “This was a little different situation.”

He claimed vandals are trying to smear his campaign by linking him to the current controversy embroiling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“They didn’t knock the sign over or take it out or rip it in half. They’re trying to tie my efforts in this community to the larger conversation that’s happening in the nation right now, and quite frankly, in the world,” said the Liberal incumbent.

Courtesy of Stephen Fuhr
Photo of a defaced election sign for Kelowna—Lake Country Liberal candidate Stephen Fuhr.

The graffiti was found on six signs in the riding of Kelowna—Lake Country in Kelowna. Fuhr called the graffiti “sad and unfortunate.” 

Earlier, Trudeau stood before the cameras to try to explain and answer questions about a bombshell video that surfaced of him wearing blackface. Global News published an undated clip of Trudeau wearing racist makeup, jumping up and down for a camera. 

Less than 24 hours earlier, he apologized for a 2001 image of him in brownface.

Time magazine broke the news Wednesday, publishing an image of Trudeau from 18 years ago wearing brown makeup and a turban at an “Arabian Nights”-themed party. Liberals confirmed the authenticity of the photo. Trudeau later told reporters that he had dressed up as an “Aladdin” character for an event at the private day school he was teaching at in Vancouver.

John Woods via Getty Images
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the media regarding photos and video that have surfaced in which he is wearing dark makeup on Sept. 19, 2019 in Winnipeg.

Since that initial brownface photo surfaced, another picture of Trudeau wearing blackface and donning an afro emerged. He had told reporters earlier that he sang the Harry Belafonte classic “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)”at a high school show and wore “makeup.”

Speaking to reporters in Winnipeg, Trudeau admitted that he did not disclose the photos or video to staff. He said he was “embarrassed” and “didn’t want to talk about it with anyone.”

He blamed “layers of privilege” as a reason for his failure to recognize brownface and blackface as offensive earlier. 

It wasn’t until he started representing the Montreal riding of Papineau when he realized that wearing dark makeup to portray oneself as a caricature of a non-white person is racist, he said.

Trudeau was elected to represent the Quebec riding in the House of Commons in 2008.

The Liberal leader was apologetic again Thursday, saying he had “difficult conversations” with his children about the controversy.

“The fact is I didn’t understand how hurtful this is to people who live with discrimination every single day. I have always acknowledged that I come from a place of privilege — but I now need to acknowledge that that comes with a massive blind spot.″

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