OTTAWA, Ontario -Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, now fighting a tough election campaign, said Wednesday he "deeply regrets" having worn "racist" brownface makeup to a party at a school where he taught 18 years ago.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday night, following TIME's publication of the photo, Trudeau apologized: "I shouldn't have done that".
He said it was taken at the school's annual dinner which had an Arabian Nights theme that year.
He also said he's been calling friends and colleagues to apologize personally for the photo, adding that he expects to be making more such calls on Thursday.
Trudeau was not the only person in costume at the 2001 gala event.
"The Prime Minister will be addressing the media personally this evening", a spokesperson for Trudeau said in a statement.
Virginia governor Ralph Northam admitted he had worn blackface while dressing up as Michael Jackson.
However, the Prime Minister's direct official director of communications did not respond with a comment.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Last month at the G-7 Summit, Trudeau told reporters that the US and Canada have a deal that's "good for our workers, good for our citizens, good for the middle class".
"Who is the real Mr. Trudeau?" "I deeply regret that I did that". Trudeau was a teacher at the private day school.
People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier described Trudeau on Twitter as a "master of identity politics" whose party has been accusing others of being "white supremacists".
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Politicians in Canada's southern neighbor the United States, with its history of slavery and segregation, have been embroiled in scandal this year over their alleged wearing of "blackface".
"What does that say about what he thinks about people who, because of who they are, because of the colour of their skin, face challenges and barriers and obstacles in their life".