Comedian Trevor Noah has responded to criticism of a racist joke he told in 2013 about Aboriginal Australian women, saying that he had “vowed never to make a joke like that again”.
Noah, now host of The Daily Show in the US, faced a backlash after video of the joke was freshly circulated online.
He was condemned by several indigenous Australians. Some called for a boycott of Noah’s upcoming Australian tour.
Noah said it was “right” to denounce the joke, which centred on appearance.
In the footage of the 2013 stand-up show, Noah is shown saying that “all women of every race can be beautiful”.
He continues: “And I know some of you are sitting there now going, ‘Oh Trevor, yeah, but I’ve never seen a beautiful Aborigine.'”
Noah goes on to say “it’s not always about looks”, before mimicking playing a didgeridoo in a suggestive manner.
On Monday, the comedian acknowledged the joke was wrong – and referred to having visited the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Melbourne.
@joewilliams_tew you're 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. I'll make sure the clip from 2013 is not promoted in any way.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) July 22, 2018
He added: I’d love to visit another community in Oz… Always open to learning more.”
Noah, whose Australian comedy tour will begin next month, was criticised by a number of indigenous people.
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 #Australia That kind of ‘humour’ is not funny and does damage! #racismitstopswithme https://t.co/yplwK2CtI7
— Dr Anita Heiss (@AnitaHeiss) July 22, 2018
Shame on you, @Trevornoah!! How dare you call the women of our families, our communities and me such words. Don’t make us the butt of your joke for some cheap laughs. An official apology is in order before you even step on our land. #BecauseofHerWeCan #boycotttrevornoahinoz
— Medika (@Deeks101) July 22, 2018
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
Others noted that Noah’s responses did not include an apology.
Noah, a South African comedian, came to global prominence when he became host of The Daily Show in 2015.
He has previously said that he regretted telling some jokes in the past.
“You show me half my jokes from even two years ago, three years ago – I hate them,” he said in a GQ interview in 2015.
“You’re like, ‘Why would you say that? You idiot! Or, ‘Ahh, I can’t believe I said that about a woman’.”
Last week, Noah was criticised for joking that “Africa won the World Cup” – a reference to the heritage of many members of the French football team.
A French diplomat said the comedian had denied players their “Frenchness”, but Noah defended himself, saying he had intended it as a statement of inclusiveness.