Comedy Central host Trevor Noah is facing backlash after he made a joke about the World Cup-winning French national soccer team that many social media users deemed racist.
During Monday night’s edition of “The Daily Show,” Mr. Noah joked about how the French team, which scored a 4-2 victory over Croatia in Moscow on Sunday, looked like they were the African team because of the color of their skin.
“Yes! I’m so excited!,” Mr. Noah, a South African, exclaimed. “Africa won the World Cup! Africa won the World Cup!
“I get it, they have to say it’s the French team, but look at those guys,” he said. “You don’t get that tan by hanging out in the south of France, my friends.
“Basically if you don’t understand, France is Africans’ backup team,” he added. “Once Senegal and Nigeria got knocked out, that’s who we root for. It’s like when Paul Simon wins a Grammy, we’re like, ‘Yes, we’ll take that, too, thank you very much.’”
The joke was met with immediate backlash online.
Mr. Noah’s comments came just a day before former President Barack Obama championed the diversity of the French team during a speech in Johannesburg honoring late South African leader Nelson Mandela.
“Just ask the French football team that just won the World Cup. … Not all of those folks looked like Gauls to me. But they’re French! They’re French,” Mr. Obama said.
Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro commented during an event Monday that the French team “seems like the African team.”
“In reality Africa won, the African immigrants who arrived in France,” Mr. Maduro said. “How much have they despised Africa, and in the football World Cup France won the trophy thanks to African players or the sons of Africans.”
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