Rob Thomas, lead singer of rock band Matchbox 20, is embroiled in a race controversy following his on-stage behaviour last night at Rod Laver Arena.
Thomas was chatting between songs when he began talking about dealing with jet lag.
“I’ve been doing it for so long, I’ve got the jet lag figured out,” he told the audience.
“What you do is, when you get on the plane on your way here, you start drinking. And then I drink until I think I’m Australian.”
The crowd began to cheer, but then Thomas added, “And I keep drinking until I think I’m a black Australian.”
Thomas seemed oblivious to the fact that the racist comment sat badly with the crowd. This morning, however, Thomas offered an apology on his Facebook page.
“After the show in Melbourne tonight while backstage with some of my Australian friends, it was brought to my attention that I said something that is racist and insensitive,” he wrote.
“Please understand that although it is no excuse, I was completely unaware that in Australia there is a polarizing social issue happening right now involving indigenous people and alcohol.
“When I was made aware of it, the ground fell out beneath me, and I realized that people may now see me as the exact opposite of who I am.
“I’m sitting here in my hotel room completely gutted that a joke that I made was much more relevant to the times in Australia than I realised.
“I feel like a fool and apologize to all Australians.”