Skip to main content

Arts Late-night comedian Trevor Noah faces backlash in Australia over offensive Aborigine joke, offers apology

Comedian Trevor Noah is facing calls for a boycott of his “Tour Down Under” over an offensive joke he told in 2013 calling all indigenous Australian women ugly, even after he acknowledged on Monday that he had done wrong.

Noah, host of the popular Daily Show in the United States, responded after an indigenous Australian highlighted a clip of a stand-up show in 2013 where the comedian made the offensive comments, with the hashtag #boycotttrevornoahinoz.

In the footage, Noah said that “all women of every race can be beautiful,” then said: “And I know some of you are sitting there now going, ‘Oh Trevor, yeah, but I’ve never seen a beautiful Aborigine.’”

Story continues below advertisement

He then went on to say, “It’s not always about looks,” and pretended to play a didgeridoo, a traditional long wooden wind instrument, in a suggestive way.

The clip has since been removed from social media, after indigenous ex-footballer Joe Williams said the comments were “utterly unacceptable” especially for “a man of colour”.

“I am so disgusted and appalled by the comments by @Trevornoah and his attempted humour that denigrates Aboriginal women I hope Australians boycott his shows in #Brisbane #Sydney #Melbourne #Perth,” author Anita Heiss said on social media.

Noah responded that Williams was right.

“After visiting Australia’s Bunjilaka museum and learning about aboriginal history first hand I vowed never to make a joke like that again. And I haven’t,” he said on social media.

The controversy over Noah’s joke has arisen at a time of heightened scrutiny of indigenous issues, amid an inquest into the death in custody of a mentally ill indigenous man.

Noah is due to tour Australia in late August.

Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter