Justin Trudeau has refused to rule out the existence of more pictures of himself in blackface as he said white “privilege” had blinded him to the racism of the practice.
Three separate cases of Mr Trudeau wearing blackface have emerged in the last two days, shredding his reputation as a liberal poster boy a month before the Canadian elections.
During a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Mr Trudeau said he “deeply regretted” the incidents, saying it was the sort of discrimination ethnic minorities “face on a regular basis”. “I didn’t see that from the layers of privilege that I have. And for that I am deeply sorry, and I apologise”.
He declined to be drawn on whether further photographs may emerge, saying “I am wary of being definitive about this because the recent pictures that came out I had not remembered.”
Mr Trudeau admitted he did not reveal the episodes to his Liberal Party during vetting processes when he ran for office, saying “I never talked about this. Quite frankly I was embarrassed”.
The Canadian leader’s political turmoil began on Wednesday night, when Time magazine published a yearbook photograph of a 29-year-old Mr Trudeau wearing robes and a turban, his hands, face and neck coated with brown makeup.
Then a teacher at West Point Grey Academy in Vancouver, Mr Trudeau was attending an Arabian nights themed gala dressed as Aladdin. In the few photos from the event, Mr Trudeau appears to be the only reveller wearing makeup.
On Thursday morning, Global News released an undated, low resolution video of Mr Trudeau wearing blackface, raising his hands in the air and sticking out his tongue. The Liberal party confirmed it shortly afterwards.
“Wearing brownface is an act of open mockery and racism. It was just as racist in 2001 as it is in 2019,” said opposition Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, adding that the prime minister is “not fit to govern”.
Jagmeet Singh, leader of the third-place NDP, called the image insulting. “It’s about every young person mocked for the colour of their skin,” tweeted Mr Singh, who himself wears a turban.
West Point Grey Academy is one of several elite Vancouver private schools, catering to wealthy families in British Columbia, with annual fees of C$23,490.
The gala Mr Trudeau attended – which also featured belly dancing, according to a 2001 school newsletter in 2001 – raised approximately $160,000 for the academy.
Earlier this year across Canada’s southern border, Virginia governor Ralph Northam refused to resign after admitting he had worn blackface, following the release of a yearbook photo.
The Liberal Party did not respond to The Telegraph’s request for comment.