A new picture released by Time shows Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wearing blackface makeup to an “Arabian Nights”-themed gala.
Time captured this photograph from West Point Grey Academy’s 2000-2001 yearbook. Trudeau was a teacher at the private day school. Trudeau’s media relations team confirmed to Time that the man pictured was indeed the prime minister.
“It was a photo taken while he was teaching in Vancouver, at the school’s annual dinner which had a costume theme of ‘Arabian Night.’ He attended with friends and colleagues dressed as a character from Aladdin,” said Zita Astravas, media relations lead for the Liberal Party of Canada.
Trudeau confirmed to Canadian media sources that he put on blackface during the Arabian-nights party and another time in a high school talent competition.
“I should have known better and I’m deeply sorry,” Trudeau said.
— Anna Desmarais (@anna_desmarais) September 19, 2019
Why did this photograph take 18 years to uncover? Well, at the beginning of the month Trudeau announced his re-election bid. In the past year, Trudeau has seen his support among Canadians slide amid a scandal involving an engineering company from his home town.
The location of this picture is also relevant to Trudeau’s re-election bid. This picture was taken at a private school, yet during his previous campaign, Trudeau mostly touted his public school teaching career. Time reported that West Point Grey Academy has a tuition rate of $22,000 to $23,000, making it one of the most expensive private schools in Vancouver.
The next Canadian election will take place on October 21, 2019. Right now, the Conservative and Liberal parties are neck-and-neck. CBC shows the Conservative Party averaging 34.4 percent of the votes, while the Liberal Party is averaging 34.2 percent.
Update: Trudeau gave a statement Wednesday:
Trudeau on wearing black face in 2001:
"I've always — and you'll know this — been more enthusiastic about costumes than is sometimes appropriate."
How is this a real statement? pic.twitter.com/oXYUVcUaxI
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) September 19, 2019