Filmmaker Michael Moore says it was ‘crushing’ to see Trudeau blackface photos

Moore said his first thought when he saw the Trudeau photos was: ‘What is wrong with white people?’

Filmmaker Michael Moore says it was ‘crushing’ to see Trudeau blackface photos

Michael Moore has been a fan of Canada ever since he mailed a VHS copy of his first documentary, “Roger & Me,” in a plain brown paper bag to the Vancouver International Film Festival and it went on to win a top prize.

So the filmmaker, who has long viewed America’s northern neighbour as a more decent, humanitarian version of his home country, says it was “crushing” to see photographs of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau made up in blackface.

“We’re living with (President Donald) Trump and we look to the north with such envy. You don’t have to live with Trump. You have a man who greets refugees at the airport. You have someone who speaks with kindness and compassion. We don’t have any of that,” said Moore.

“So Trudeau, despite whatever flaws or problems there are with him, you only have to look south to see just how bad it could be.”

Moore was in Vancouver to attend a special event at the city’s film festival honouring the 30-year anniversary of “Roger & Me” on Saturday. In an interview Friday, Moore reflected on how the themes of the film still resonate in 2019 and offered his thoughts on the latest bombshells in American and Canadian politics.

Trudeau has apologized for wearing skin-darkening makeup in the 1990s and early 2000s, including on one instance where he was dressed like Aladdin. Trudeau has said although he didn’t think it was racist at the time, he now sees that it was.

ALSO READ: How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

Moore said his first thought when he saw the Trudeau photos was: “What is wrong with white people?”

“Whether it’s stealing black peoples’ music, whether it’s taking the best comedy — African-American comedians — you go down the whole list of things that are appropriated from people of colour and this is a long and sad tradition,” he said.

Moore noted he didn’t like anyone interfering in American elections and he didn’t want to interfere in Canada’s. But he said he felt sad about Canadians’ choices, even though the country does have the “NDP, which is rockin’ on as far as I’m concerned.”

“You have an election in a couple of weeks and you basically have a choice between Aladdin and an American. I think on balance, advantage Aladdin. Right?” he quipped, referencing the recent revelation that Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen.

Scheer has said he’s in the process of renouncing his American citizenship but Moore joked that the move wasn’t necessary.

“I think the best thing I can do while I’m here in Canada is escort Mr. Scheer back to his country and try to tell him to quit saying that word ‘renounce.’ … Don’t let Americans hear they’re being renounced. We can’t take it anymore. We’re going through enough already.”

ALSO READ: Trump’s surprise at blackface photos sums up world’s view of Trudeau

The Vancouver International Film Festival was set to screen “Roger & Me” and host an on-stage discussion with Moore. The film chronicles Moore’s dogged efforts to interview General Motors CEO Roger Smith about the damage done in Flint, Mich., because of the company’s mass factory closures.

Flint is Moore’s hometown and he acknowledged sadly that the situation has gotten worse in the past three decades. The number of GM workers in the city has dwindled and the city’s cost-cutting measures led to tainted drinking water, he noted.

“If you lived in Flint now, you’d look at ‘Roger & Me’ and go, ‘That’s the Flint I’d like to live in.’ Isn’t that sad?”

Michigan was among the states Trump visited during the 2016 campaign with promises to restore manufacturing jobs. Despite his vows, the Rust Belt is still losing jobs, with GM announcing plans last November to close five plants in the U.S. and Canada.

Moore said Trump “played” the working class in the Midwest.

“Trump did go into Michigan and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania and over and over again said, ‘I’m going to tax the rich. Those hedge fund guys, they’re not paying their fair share. I’m going to bring these jobs back.’

“If anybody would say that to people who have suffered in the Midwest, that’s going to sound good.”

Moore also wisecracked about the impeachment inquiry launched by the Democrats in the House of Representatives, pointing out Trump has openly told the media that he asked Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son.

“Who needs an inquiry? What’s there to inquire? He did it. He admitted he did it. He has to be impeached.

“I tweeted last night that I just went downstairs to throw another load in the laundry and I came back up and he was still president. What’s going on here?”

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Greater Victoria School District and two retired teachers are named as defendants in a lawsuit alleging that a student was sexually abused in the early 2000s. (Pixabay photo)
Former Saanich student files sexual abuse lawsuit against school district, retired teachers

Lawsuit claims student was groomed, abused by retired teacher

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death of North Saanich likely first in B.C. for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

(Black Press Media file photo)
Mechanical issues blamed for Saanich car fire

‘Nothing untoward’ suspected, no injuries reported, firefighter says

Jimmy Fallon joked that a woman’s 4.5-star review of a Langford jail is “the most Canadian thing you could do” in The Tonight Show Jan. 21. (Screenshot/YouTube)
VIDEO: Jimmy Fallon jokes Canadian jails are basically hotels following woman’s 4.5-star review

Woman gave handwritten card to police following stay in Langford cells

Located at 9750 West Saanich Rd., this North Saanich mansion is on the market for $10.25 million. (Realtor.ca photo)
Located at 9750 West Saanich Rd., this North Saanich mansion is on the market for $8.65 million. (Realtor.ca photo)
The five most expensive homes for sale in Greater Victoria

A roundup of luxury estates currently on the market

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Terry Keogh, an RDN Transit driver, used his paramedic skills the morning of Jan. 22 after coming across an unconscious woman along his route in downtown Nanaimo. (RDN Transit photo)
Nanaimo transit driver stops his bus and helps get overdosing woman breathing again

Former EMT from Ireland performed CPR on a woman in downtown Nanaimo on Friday

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. The First Nations Leadership Council says an attempt by industry to overturn the phasing out of salmon farms in the Discovery Islands in contrary to their inherent Title and Rights. (THE CANADIAN PRESS /Jonathan Hayward photo)
First Nations Leadership Council denounces attempt to overturn salmon farm ban

B.C.’s producers filed for a judicial review of the Discovery Islands decision Jan. 18

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

More than 100 B.C. fishermen, fleet leaders, First Nations leaders and other salmon stakeholders are holding a virtual conference Jan. 21-22 to discuss a broad-range of issues threatening the commercial salmon fishery. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. commercial salmon fishermen discuss cures for an industry on the brink

Two-day virtual conference will produce key reccomendations for DFO

Black Press file photo
Investigation at remote burned-out Vancouver Island cabin reveals human remains

Identity of victim not released, believed to be the owner of an SUV vehicle found parked nearby

Angela Waldick is the new team photographer for the Nanaimo NightOwls. (Nanaimo NightOwls photo)
Half-blind photographer will help new Island baseball team look picture-perfect

Nanaimo NightOwls say legally blind team photographer is making history

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Most Read