5-speed listening (Level 3)

Canada's Justin Trudeau apologizes for brownface photo



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The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, has apologized for a photo of him in brownface. This is the wearing of face make-up to look like a brown-skinned person. It used to be common in theatrical shows, but it is racist, offensive and disrespectful. The photo of Mr Trudeau wearing brownface was given to Time magazine on Wednesday. It was taken when he was a teacher in 2001. He was attending an end-of-year school gala that had an Arabian Nights theme. He put on dark brown make-up to dress as a character from Aladdin. Mr Trudeau said he was sorry for the photo. He told reporters: "I shouldn't have done it. I should have known better, but I didn't. "And I'm really sorry."

The photo could mean trouble for Mr Trudeau. He is running for re-election as Canada's leader and is neck-and-neck in the polls. His biggest rival told reporters: "Like all Canadians, I was extremely shocked and disappointed when I learned of Justin Trudeau's actions this evening. Wearing brownface is an act of open mockery and racism. It was just as racist in 2001 as it is in 2019." He added: "What Canadians saw this evening was someone...who's not fit to govern this country." Another election hopeful, Jagmeet Singh, said "We see one Mr. Trudeau in public, and I'll be honest with you, he seems really nice - very friendly, very warm....But behind closed doors, he seems like he's a different Mr. Trudeau."

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