TORONTO – Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau apologized Wednesday for wearing brownface makeup at a party in 2001, after TIME Magazine published a photo from the event.
“I shouldn’t have done that. I should have known better but I didn’t and I’m really sorry,” Trudeau told reporters on the plane after a day of campaigning in Atlantic Canada.
TIME reported Wednesday that the photo appeared in the 2000-2001 yearbook of West Point Grey Academy, a private day school in Vancouver where Trudeau was a teacher at the time.
The photo was taken at the school’s annual dinner, which had an “Arabian Nights” theme, a Liberal Party spokesperson said.
Trudeau acknowledged that he was dressed as Aladdin.
“It was a dumb thing to do. I’m disappointed in myself. I’m pissed off at myself for having done it. I wish I hadn’t done it, but I did it and I apologize for it,” he said.
“I have worked all my life to try and create opportunities for people, to fight against racism and intolerance, and I can just stand here and say that I made a mistake when I was younger and I wish I hadn’t.”
Trudeau was nearly 30 years old when the photo was taken.