Comedian Trevor Noah is under fire for a past joke about indigenous Australian women, and some have called for boycotting his comedy tour in the country scheduled to begin next month.
Noah, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” made a derogatory joke about the physical appearance of aboriginal women during a 2013 stand-up special. The clip resurfaced last weekend and was posted to Twitter, where it quickly caused an uproar.
“All women of every race can be beautiful,” Noah says in the clip, since removed from YouTube. “And I know some of you are sitting there now going, ‘Oh Trevor, I’ve never seen a beautiful Aborigine.’ But you know what you say? You say, ‘Yet.’ That’s what you say.”
He continued: “Plus it’s not always about looks. Maybe Aborigine women do special things, maybe they’ll just like, jump on top of you.” Noah then made a sexual gesture and a noise like a didgeridoo, a traditional indigenous instrument.
Indigenous activists accused Noah of playing into longstanding stereotypes about aboriginal people, saying they were disappointed, disgusted and appalled by the joke. Australia has been struggling to address indigenous issues for years, including efforts to honor aboriginal heritage and tackle rampant rates of incarceration. The term Noah used, Aborigine, is outdated and considered offensive by some.
The comedian later addressed the clip on Twitter, but did not apologize, saying that after “learning about aboriginal history firsthand, I vowed never to make a joke like that again. And I haven’t.”
“I’ll make sure the clip from 2013 is not promoted in any way,” he continued.
Many urged the comedian to issue a full-throated apology before he travels to Australia next month.
“His standup routine in which we were the joke — in all of our supposed ugliness did not just hurt our feelings,” Chelsea Bond, a senior lecturer at The University of Queensland, wrote on Twitter. “It reminded us that we are not seen as human, not seen as beautiful and not seen at all — not even by a ‘brother.’”
“Even in my anger and disappointment I’m still hoping that you will do the right thing by us or at least return to us the kind of respect that we deserve,” she continued.
Noah didn’t immediately answer HuffPost’s request for comment.
Im Beautiful BECAUSE Im Aboriginal. Im Strong BECAUSE Im Aboriginal.
Im Loved BECAUSE Im Aboriginal.
Im Smart BECAUSE Im Aboriginal.
I am surrounded by Beautiful Aboriginal women who arent punchlines, theyre Warrior Goddesses #BeautifulBECAUSEImAboriginal
— Nakkiah Lui (@nakkiahlui) July 22, 2018
Fuck white beauty standards and the black men that hold them up. Fuck misogynoir. Fuck @Trevornoah The country we come from treats us like we are ugly, tells us we are ugly and unworthy.
— Nayuka (@NayukaGorrie) July 22, 2018
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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