Nearly 20 years ago, Justin Trudeau wore brownface at a party—and now it's back to haunt him. In the midst of a reelection campaign, Canada's prime minister responded to a photo in Time of him wearing brownface at a 2001 party. Trudeau said he wore the costume during an Arabian Nights-themed gala at a private school where he was teaching, per Global News. "I dressed up in an Aladdin costume and put makeup on," said the 47-year-old. "I shouldn't have done it. I should have known better, but I didn't. And I'm really sorry." (See the image at CTV News.) Showered with reporters' questions, he repeatedly expressed regret and called the costume "racist" but said he didn't realize it at the time.
He also admitted to wearing similar makeup once in a high school talent show. Time obtained the 2001 photo from a yearbook at West Point Grey Academy in Vancouver; among six photos of the event, Trudeau appears to be the only one in brownface. Critical responses rolled in before Trudeau spoke, with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calling the photo "troubling" and "insulting" and saying Trudeau "needs to answer for it," per the CBC. The National Council of Canadian Muslims called the image "deeply saddening," per the National Post. Facing the press, Trudeau deftly avoided answering whether he should resign and vowed to fight against racism. (This isn't the only political crisis to hit Trudeau in recent months.)