Trevor Noah Refuses to Apologize for Resurfaced Joke About Aboriginal Women


The “Daily Show” host’s remarks come after controversial old jokes from people like James Gunn, Dan Harmon, Sarah Silverman & Michael Ian Black have received increased scrutiny.

Trevor Noah refuses to apologize for his old jokes. While talking to an Australian radio show Thursday (July 26), Noah insisted that he would not take back a joke he made about aboriginal women being ugly. The comments come from a standup show he did in 2013.    

"What I understand about outrage, though, what I mean is that people don't generally want to listen or understand from their side. They go, 'No, we're angry,'" he said. "And regardless how many times you speak about the thing, they still want to be angry and so all you can do is fall back and say, 'I've addressed this.'

"We live in a world where people want to unearth things that have already been unearthed," he told the program's hosts.

"I was responding to comments about certain women being called unflattering in South Africa," he said. "So, you know, it's one those things where if you were to make the joke again, you would make it better."

The comments about aboriginal women are not the first time Noah has been scrutinized for his jokes. When named Jon Stewart's successor on The Daily Show, Internet users recovered old tweets by Noah that were criticized as sexist and anti-Semitic.

One tweet from 2015 reads, "Looking at how successful all the Kardashian women are, I don't blame Bruce Jenner at all" in response to Jenner's transition. Another tweet from 2011 says, "'Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I'm sexy!' – fat chicks everywhere." Noah also tweeted, "Almost bumped a Jewish kid crossing the road. He didn't look b4 crossing but I still would hav felt so bad in my german car!" in 2009.

The controversial tweets created outrage among a number Twitter users and led to criticisms Comedy Central for hiring the comedian.

Noah responded to the backlash by writing in a now-deleted tweet, "Twitter does not have enough characters to respond to all the characters on Twitter."

The Daily Show host's refusal to apologize comes after resurfaced tweets from director James Gunn led to him being fired from Disney's upcoming Guardians the Galaxy Vol. 3. Controversial old jokes from Dan Harmon, Sarah Silverman and Michael Ian Black have also been resurfaced and received scrutiny over the past week.

Gunn was fired from his role as the director Disney's upcoming Guardians threequel after conservative personalities found old tweets that joked about pedophilia and rape. The director issued a statement after the resurfacing the tweets from 2008 and 2009. He said that he "regretted" the tweets and emphasized that "they don't reflect the person that I am today."

Rick and Morty co-creator Harmon also faced scrutiny after the resurfacing a spo video the Showtime series Dexter in which he goes back in time and sexually assaults serial killers when they are infants.

“In 2009, I made a 'pilot' which strove to parody the series Dexter and only succeeded in fending," he said in a statement acquired by The Hollywood Reporter. "I quickly realized the content was way too distasteful and took the video down immediately. Nobody should ever have to see what you saw and for that, I sincerely apologize.”

Harmon deleted his Twitter account after the controversy, though his employment at Adult Swim, which airs Rick and Morty, has not been terminated.

A tweet from 2009 recently made Silverman a target for online critics as well. The tweet reads, "Hey, is it considered molestation if the child makes the first move? I'm gonna need a quick answer on this."

Silverman responded to the controversy Wednesday (July 25) by tweeting, "Some very odd people R saying I'm a pedo, re: a joke from a time not that long ago when hard absurd jokes by comedians were acknowledged for what they were — jokes — not a disengenuous national threat to people fake-clutching their pearls (whilst ranting the country's too PC)." 

Comedian Black has also been recently criticized for past tweets about child rape and pedophilia. He wrote a lengthy response to the controversy on his Twitter account Sunday (July 22).

"Today, right wing Twitter came after me out the blue (again) because they took fense to a bunch jokes I’ve made over the years (again)," he began on the thread tweets. He added that he believes the recent resurfacing his old tweets is linked to his criticism the National Rifle Association.

He later admitted that he is aware his actions. "Here’s what’s true: 1. I make fensive jokes. I’ve been doing it for 30 years and although I’ve slowed down in recent years and gotten more reflective about it, I still do it," he wrote. "Like when I say I do butt stuff with your mom. I don’t *really* do butt stuff with your mom.

"I know what I’ve done in my life. And I know what you’ve done in yours," he concluded in the tweets. "The NRA is a terrorist organization culpable in tens if not hundreds thousands American deaths. You want to shit on me for some bad jokes. Have at it. My hands are clean."

This post was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.