Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” is facing accusations of racism after calling the French national soccer team, which won the World Cup last week, a team from Africa because most of its players were black.
“Africa won the World Cup,” Noah said in a segment Monday about France’s 4-2 victory against Croatia on Sunday on Moscow.
“I get it, they have to say it’s the French team,” Noah said. “But look at those guys. 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. Once Senegal and Nigeria got knocked out, that’s who we root for.”
The comedian’s comments came just a day before former U.S. President Barack Obama used the French team as an example of how people should look beyond race and embrace everyone as a fellow citizen.
“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,” Obama said in Johannesburg during a speech 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!”
Noah’s remarks weren’t received well on social media, with most French natives noting that nearly every team member, regardless of their race, was born and raised in France.
Kevin Razy, a French comedian, criticized “The Daily Show” host for regurgitating a racist joke that has circulated in France.
“This is what racists say about our team here in France,” he wrote, though giving the benefit of the doubt. “You didn’t know, now you know.”
One Twitter user, who claimed to be from France, also slammed Noah. “98% of the players were born in France. Only two players were born in Africa, but they came at the age of two. So they’ve grown up in France,” the user said.
“This is alt right humor here is in France. This is so racist to think that because they are black they are not French. They claimed their love of France. You deny them the right to be French? Is this what you want to deliver to all African-Americans also?” it added, attracting near-universal praise for calling out the comedian’s poor joke.
“I like you dude. But maybe there is something wrong when you start to use the ‘joke’ already done by Nazis,” wrote another user.