ENTERTAINMENT
20/09/2019 15:44 BST

Lenny Henry Jokes 'Hello, I’m Justin Trudeau' During Diversity Speech

The Canadian prime minister was forced to apologise this week after photos of him in offensive make-up were unearthed.

Sir Lenny Henry poked fun at Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau as he gave a speech about diversity at a Royal Television Society event on Friday.

Appearing on stage, the comedian introduced himself by saying “Hello, I’m Justin Trudeau”, referencing the controversy Trudeau has faced since several photos of him in blackface were unearthed.

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Sir Lenny Henry

Earlier this week, the Canadian politician was forced to apologise when photos of him from 2001 wearing brown make-up at an Arabian Nights-themed gala were unearthed.

“I’m pissed off at myself, I’m disappointed in myself. I should have known better then, but I didn’t and I did it and I’m deeply sorry,” Trudeau said. “I dressed up in an Aladdin costume and put make-up on. I shouldn’t have done it.”

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Justin Trudeau addresses the media

He added: “I should have known better. It was something that I didn’t think was racist at the time, but now I recognise it was something racist to do and I am deeply sorry.”

Following this, another two photos have been shared online showing Trudeau in blackface, one of which was confirmed by the Liberal Party to have been taken in the early 1990s, in an email to HuffPost.

Trudeau has since said he doesn’t recall how many times in his life he has worn the offensive face make-up. 

During Sir Lenny’s speech, he called for diversity within television not to be seen as an “afterthought”, telling those in attendance: “It’s time to scrap diversity schemes and initiatives and put some money where our BAME talent is – what I’m suggesting is we need to take an entirely different approach.

“Take all the money, staff, time and effort into diversity to increase diversity on things that are actually commissioned – this isn’t a revolution, this is simply copying what broadcasters do when they actually want to increase diversity.”

Sir Lenny previously appeared at the House Of Lords over the summer, where he called for laws to be introduced surrounding diversity in the media.