The host of The Daily Show could face boycotts and protests during his Australian tour because of comments he made about Aboriginal women during a stand-up show five years ago.
Ahead of his Australian tour in August, a clip from his 2013 stand-up special “It’s my culture” emerged on Twitter, in which Trevor Noah made derogatory comments about the appearance of Aboriginal women.
Noah has since backtracked on his comments, but has drawn criticism for not apologising and failing to engage with Indigenous women in his response.
“All women of every race can be beautiful,” the clip shows Noah saying during a routine on stage.
“And I know some of you are sitting there now going, ‘Oh Trevor, yeah, but I’ve never seen a beautiful Aborigine’.
“Yeah, but you know what you say? You say ‘yet’, that’s what you say; ‘yet’. Because you haven’t seen all of them, right?
“Plus it’s not always about looks, maybe Aborigine women do special things, maybe they’ll just like, jump on top of you.”
He then goes on to mimic the sound of a didgeridoo while miming oral sex.
The video has now been removed from YouTube.
In response to the clip, there have been calls on social media to boycott his August tour, including the creation of a hashhtag #boycotttrevornoahinoz
Calls for an apology
University of Queensland lecturer and Indigenous broadcaster Chelsea Bond said she had at first hoped it was a doctored video designed to spur outrage.
“I had bought tickets to his show and was very excited about seeing him,” Dr Bond said.
“Typically black people want to see that the world will treat us fairly, so it’s a real slap in the face and a reminder of our place in the world.
“He’s talked about black women and the strength of his mother, but he just doesn’t seem to see Aboriginal women as being part of this.
“That’s a real kick in the guts.”
She said his words were even more hurtful because the South African’s sophisticated and clever comedy on race had made Indigenous women believe they were included and had a voice.
“It’s that disappointment, he really let us down,” she said.
Dr Bond said she was now going to run a segment on her radio show asking what to do with the tickets to the sold-out performance in Brisbane — sell them or burn them?
But she said no matter what, there would be protests.
“He didn’t say sorry. There was no apology. It was a defence,” she said.
“Having the video removed was redemptive to him, but not to Aboriginal women.
“He’s not sorry. He just wants this to disappear before his show.”
Former rugby league player Joe Williams, who first shared the clip on Twitter, said Noah needed to release an official statement apologising to Indigenous women across Australia.
“It doesn’t affect me, but it does affect my fiancee, my sisters, my mum, my cousins,” he said.
“This is about me supporting women and standing in solidarity with them.
“All women should be standing up.”
Comedian responds on social media
While Noah, the host of American talk and satire program The Daily Show, has stopped short of a public apology, he took to Twitter to vow he would “never make a joke like that again”.
“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.
“I’ll make sure the clip from 2013 is not promoted in any way.”
The ABC has sought comment from Noah and the tour promoter.