What we know about the Arabian Nights-themed gala Justin Trudeau attended in brownface makeup


Additional details have emerged on the Arabian Nights-themed gala that Justin Trudeau attended in 2001 in brownface makeup.

According to an April 2001 newsletter from the West Point Grey Academy, a private school in Vancouver where Trudeau taught, the event was held at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel.

West Point Grea Academy Newsletter April 2001

There were “Desert Breeze” drinks served at the event, which was described as “certainly encouraging the fun atmosphere.”

The page in the newsletter also explains that there were belly dancers who moved around the “marketplace auction.”

Gala guests also enjoyed an “exotic meal,” with no specifics mentioned in the newsletter. Approximately $160,000 was raised at the event to “benefit school life of student.”

Images from the event included in the newsletter includes Trudeau’s brownface makeup and “racist” costume, originally published by Canadland. Although other attendees dressed up in costume, Trudeau is the only one photographed in brownface.


“It was something that I didn’t think was racist at the time,” Trudeau said after the original photo was released by TIME on Wednesday night. “I’m disappointed and pissed off at myself.”

In addition to Trudeau’s appearance at the Arabian Nights-themed gala, Global News has released a video of him in blackface makeup, apparently from the 1990s.

There is also a photo of Trudeau in blackface during a high school talent show, where he sang the song Day O.

People around the world have taken to social media to comment on the gala itself and Trudeau’s appearance at the event: