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Liberal candidate apologizes for saying Black constituents have ‘more love’ for Trudeau after blackface scandal

Humber River-Black Creek Liberal candidate Judy Sgro has apologized after saying in an interview with GBKM FM that the black community in her riding told her they have "much more love" for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau because he "wanted to have blackface" and that the media "have blown this into something that it shouldn’t be."

The Liberal candidate for Humber River-Black Creek has apologized for saying members of the Black community in her riding have “much more love” for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau because he “wanted to have a black face.”

Judy Sgro made the comments in an interview with Toronto-based station GBKM FM on Sept. 28, 2019, her campaign team confirmed to Global News on Wednesday.

Exclusive: Video shows Trudeau in blackface, in third instance of racist makeup
Exclusive: Video shows Trudeau in blackface, in third instance of racist makeup

During the interview, she was asked to speak to the “sentiment” she’d been hearing from voters about Trudeau’s recent blackface controversy while she was out campaigning.

News broke last month that the Liberal leader had worn brown- and blackface on at least three occasions in the past, incidents for which Trudeau apologized.

“Well, I think it’s very sad that something that — first off, something that was done 20 years ago to begin with … all of us were young at one time and all of us sometimes made poor choices and did things that may not be appropriate in today’s world,” Sgro replied in the interview.

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“But let me tell you that in knocking on doors and being in the plazas and talking to people to make sure that I’m as sensitive as I need to be, if I missed something … and those in the Black community have told me how much more love they have for the prime minister, that he wanted to have a black face — he took great pride in that too and that it’s the media that have blown this into something that it shouldn’t be, and that they are very supportive and they’re actually looking for finding more ways that they can show how much they support and love the prime minister.”

2019 Federal Election: Trudeau addresses blackface scandal for first time in one-on-one interview
2019 Federal Election: Trudeau addresses blackface scandal for first time in one-on-one interview

When asked about the comments on Wednesday, Sgro’s campaign team sent a written statement from the Liberal candidate.

“The comments I made on GBKM FM were insensitive. I should have known better, and I apologize,” Sgro said.

“The history of blackface is deeply racist and it is nothing other than discriminatory. This issue has sparked an important conversation in our country and needs to be treated with great seriousness and sensitivity. I will continue to have these important conversations with my constituents.”

A look at Canada’s long history of blackface
A look at Canada’s long history of blackface

Earlier on Wednesday, before Sgro apologized, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh reacted to her comments, arguing it was “ludicrous” and “shameful” that she would suggest that Black people in her community like Trudeau more because he wore blackface.

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“That shows a massive disconnect between the Liberal party — and in fact Mr. Trudeau –and what real people are living and what they’re experiencing,” Singh said.

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Federal Election 2019: Jagmeet Singh says racist makeup controversy ‘not about Trudeau’

Global News has contacted GBKM FM for comment but a representative could not be immediately reached.

Sgro has represented the federal riding of Humber River—Black Creek in the House of Commons since 1999.