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?’

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

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

BC Green Party leader visits Wet’suwet’en camps at heart of pipeline conflict

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada and First Nations

Premier Horgan announces business plan approval for new hospital in Fort St. James

The new hospital in the district is aimed to be open to patients by 2024

Horgan cancels event in Fraser Lake due to security concerns, says mayor

The premier will still be visiting the district, but the location and day will not be made public

Pipeline at centre of B.C. conflict is creating jobs for First Nations: chief

All 20 elected band councils along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route have signed benefits agreements

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

Most Read