Lenny Henry jokingly introduces himself as Justin Trudeau amid blackface scandal

Clémence Michallon
Sir Lenny Henry speaking at the Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention on 20 September, 2019: Richard Kendal/RTS/PA Wire

Sir Lenny Henry jokingly introduced himself as Justin Trudeau at a television conference as the Canadian prime minister scrambled to recover from a blackface controversy.

He took the stage at a Royal Television Society event on Friday to give a speech on diversity and television and told the crowd: ”Nice to see you. I am Justin Trudeau. I’ll be answering your questions any minute now.”

The quip was met with laughs by the audience.

Campaigning for diversity, Sir Lenny has previously called on politicians to guarantee true representation in UK film and television.

On Friday, at the RTS Cambridge Convention, he spoke about “what now needs to be done” in the industry.

Trudeau, 47, has apologised after a yearbook photo surfaced of himself wearing “brownface” make-up at a 2001 “Arabian Nights”-themed costume party.

Time magazine published the photo of Trudeau on Wednesday, saying it was taken from the yearbook from the West Point Grey Academy, a private school in British Columbia where he worked as a teacher before entering politics.

It shows the then 29-year-old Mr Trudeau in a turban and robe with dark make-up on his hands, face and neck.


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Two other similar incidents have since surfaced.

Additional reporting by agencies