Following the death of George Floyd, there have been protests against police brutality in countries such as the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Canada. Justin Trudeau showed up at a demonstration in Ottawa, where the Canadian prime minister kneeled to show his support in fighting against racial inequality. However, people were quick to point out Trudeau’s problematic past of wearing blackface.
Trudeau, wearing a black face mask, made an appearance at a George Floyd protest where he held up a Black Lives Matter shirt. Outside the Canadian Parliament, Trudeau took a knee, a symbolic gesture that recently has been a rallying call to bring justice to Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
While some in the crowd cheered the prime minister, one man in the group screamed: “GO HOME BLACKFACE! GO HOME!”
Meanwhile online, dozens on commentators also pointed out the hypocrisy of Trudeau by reminiscing about his blackface scandal.
Trudeau was caught wearing blackface in a 2001 photo during an “Arabian Nights” party at the school where he was a teacher. Trudeau also admitted to having worn blackface two times in high school.
Trudeau apologized last September, and said, “I’ve always — and you’ll know this — been more enthusiastic about costumes than is sometimes appropriate.”
Apology or no apology, people online were quick to resurface Trudeau’s old blackface photos.
On Wednesday, Trudeau said, “It is a time for us as Canadians to recognize that we, too, have our challenges. There is systemic racism in Canada.”
On Tuesday, the Canadian prime minister was asked about President Donald Trump’s call for military action to handle the riots in U.S. cities. Trudeau had a lengthy 20-second pause.
“We all watch in horror and consternation what’s going on in the United States,” he eventually responded. “It is a time to pull people together but it is a time to listen, to learn what injustices continue despite progress over years and decades.”