2001 Photo of Trudeau in Brownface Makeup Roils Canada Election

2001 Photo of Trudeau in Brownface Makeup Roils Canada Election


OTTAWA — The re-election campaign of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada was thrown into turmoil Wednesday when Time magazine published a 2001 photograph of him wearing brownface makeup at a private school party.

Time said the photograph had been taken when Mr. Trudeau, then a 29-year-old teacher, attended an “Arabian Nights” themed costume gala at the West Point Grey Academy in Vancouver.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Trudeau’s re-election campaign confirmed that the photo was him.

“He attended with friends and colleagues dressed as a character from Aladdin,” the spokeswoman, Zita Astravas, said.

The photograph appeared in the school’s 2000-2001 yearbook, The View, Time said, adding that it had obtained a copy of the yearbook from a Vancouver businessman, Michael Adamson, a member of the school community. The magazine reported that Mr. Adamson, who first saw the photograph in July, felt that it should be made public.

The news immediately injected new uncertainty into the political career of Mr. Trudeau, the Liberal Party leader who began his re-election campaign a week ago. He has sought to cast himself as a champion of Canada’s racial and ethnic minorities in his nearly four years as prime minister.

The photograph immediately drew comparisons to the scandal that enmeshed Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia earlier this year over a photograph published in a medical school yearbook about 35 years earlier. Initially, Mr. Northam apologized for appearing in the yearbook photo, which shows a man in blackface makeup standing next to someone wearing a Klan robe and hood. But he later insisted that he was actually not either of the people in the picture.



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