Source: Jason Franson via PA Images
Updated at 8.30pm
CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER Justin Trudeau apologised for interrupting a woman to ask her to say “peoplekind” instead of “mankind” because it’s more inclusive.
Critics subsequently hit out at Trudeau, accusing him of “mansplaining” and “virtue-signalling”. Trudeau’s spokesperson then came out to defend the progressive PM as a “proud feminist” whose policies reflect “commitments to equality”, according to the BBC.
This evening, Trudeau apologised for his remarks.
“You all know that I don’t necessarily have the best of track records on jokes. I made a dumb joke a few days ago that seems to have gone a little viral,” he said, according to the Guardian.
It played well in the room and in context. Out of context it doesn’t play so well and it’s a little reminder to me that I shouldn’t be making jokes even when I think they’re funny.
The woman in question stood up during a town hall event in Edmonton, Canada last week to make a speech about her feminist Korean church. She thanked Trudeau for having a gender-balanced cabinet.
She ended her speech by saying: “Maternal love is the love that’s going to change the future of mankind.”
It was here that Trudeau interrupted her and said that “we like to say peoplekind, not necessarily mankind. It’s more inclusive”, to which she said, “exactly, yes, thank you”.
“We can all learn from each other,” Trudeau said, and the audience erupted in applause.
Over the past few days, the incident had built up a heavy amount of criticism online, particularly conservative political and media figures.
Conservative federal politician Michelle Rempel apologised “on behalf of Parliament” to the woman who was interrupted by Trudeau.
Piers Morgan wrote an opinion piece for the Daily Mail UK yesterday and said: “Amid the #MeToo and #TimesUp firestorm of the past few months, [Trudeau] has been biding his time, waiting for the perfect occasion to throw his virtue-signalling voice behind the feminist cause.”
However, despite the backlash, many people have also come out in defence of Trudeau.
Washington correspondent for the Toronto Star, Daniel Dale said that the “pile-on” was misleading as Trudeau was “lightly ribbing a woman who was rambling about the power of women” and accused people of leaving out context to the comments.
The prime minister has made numerous comments over the past few years that have seen a similar backlash.
- with reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha. First published at 8.30am