Trudeau was pictured in brownface at a 2001 high school party in Vancouver.
On Wednesday night, news broke that Justin Trudeau wore “brownface” at an Arabian Nights party back in 2001. Since then, the now-viral image has been shared countless times on social media and across several media outlets.
The Prime Minister of Canada quickly held a press conference on a plane with a select few reporters where he apologized for his self-admitted racist incident. When asked about the incident, Trudeau said he believes it was “racist” although he didn’t believe it was racist when it happened.
TIME broke the news on Wednesday, September 18. In the story, Trudeau’s media relations lead confirmed to TIME that the Prime Minister was, in fact, in the photograph. The photo was pulled from a Vancouver high school yearbook where Trudeau worked as a teacher back in 2001.
In the photograph, you can see Trudeau with darkened skin and wearing a costume depicting a character from Aladdin. Trudeau admitted in the press conference that the incident was racist and stated several times that he was disappointed in himself and even “pissed off” at himself.
Trudeau’s also seen grasping onto a woman very closely in the image which reporters were quick to question the Prime Minister about. When asked who the woman was, Trudeau simply stated she was a “close friend”.
Surprisingly, Trudeau admitted to another racist incident while speaking in the conference. When asked if there was any other incidents he’d like to fess up to, the Prime Minister shed some light on another scandal from his past.
Trudeau explained that there is another incident that he regrets where he “dressed up” at a talent show when he was in high school. He also admitted that he had “makeup on”.
Earlier this week, some Canadians were calling Trudeau “creepy” after he posed for photos with Bianca Andresscu at her rally in Mississauga. Some argued that he was getting a little too close to the famous tennis star.
In the conference, Trudeau revealed that he has been talking to colleagues, friends, and other candidates on Wednesday night. He has informed them of the situation and apologized for the incident.
Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP, tweeted out his response to the incident tonight. In his tweet, Singh took this as a moment to shed light on prejudice in Canada, explaining that this is a painful reminder of the many racist incidents other Canadians have endured in our country.