Viewers who tuned in to “A Little Late With Lilly Singh” Wednesday night were treated to a vocal warm-up from Christina Aguilera, confessions from the stars of “This Is Us,” and sketch comedy from the YouTuber-turned-host, Lilly Singh.
But one guest was notably absent from the NBC show’s line-up: Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.
Singh’s late-night show, which airs at 1:35 AM EST in the US and an hour earlier in Canada, ran an hour-long prime-time special on Wednesday. The current federal leader was slated to appear on Lilly Singh’s talk show at 10 PM EST, after the finale of “America’s Got Talent.” His non-attendance was not brought up on the episode.
Time published Wednesday evening a yearbook photo of Trudeau wearing brownface at a party. The current federal leader was a 29-year-old private school teacher at the time.
In a press conference on his campaign plane, Trudeau confirmed the photo’s existence, calling his dark makeup and Aladdin costume “racist.”
“I made a mistake when I was younger and I wish I hadn’t. I should have known better then, but I didn’t. And I did it. And I am deeply sorry for it,” Trudeau told reporters.
Singh’s show deletes posts about Trudeau
In anticipation of the special, Trudeau’s appearance was advertised by the show’s social media and covered in an exclusive from Entertainment Weekly.
A tweet about the prime-time special’s guests from the show’s official account, which tagged Trudeau’s account, was removed before the special aired. Before it was deleted, users tweeted their excitement for Trudeau’s appearance.
On her personal Instagram account, Singh tagged the prime minister on an Instagram post promoting the special, along with other guests.
While the post remains online, his Instagram username @justinpjtrudeau has since been removed.
The Indian-Canadian from Scarborough, Ont. made television history with her onscreen debut earlier this week. She’s the first openly queer woman of colour to host a late-night show on a major television network.
Trudeau has been a long-time supporter of Singh’s work. When news was announced of her new gig, he congratulated her on behalf of the country.
“You’re making Canada proud – and making us laugh along the way,” Trudeau tweeted.
Ahead of her late night premiere Monday, the Liberal leader wished Singh well.
At the time of publication, neither “A Little Late With Lilly Singh” nor the comedian herself have explained the reason behind Trudeau’s non-appearance on the special.
When reached for comment, Singh’s representatives were unavailable. We’ll update this post if they respond.