Trevor Noah says he did not claim “the entire UK is racist,” as he sought to clarify remarks he made on The Daily Show following the appointment of Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister.
In a video posted on Twitter from his US satirical news programme, the South African comedian alleged there were people saying “now the Indians are going to take over Great Britain”.
His comments received a backlash online from many UK politicians including former Cabinet minister Sajid Javid, who said they were “simply wrong”.
C’mon Piers you’re smarter than that. I wasn’t saying “The entire U.K. is racist”, I was responding to the racists who don’t want Rishi as PM because of his race. That’s why I said. “Some people” 🙃https://t.co/QQgEQ45wJU https://t.co/bhurdPvsE8
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) October 28, 2022
Talk TV host Piers Morgan also criticised The Daily Show and other US media outlets for “falsely portraying Britain as a racist country”.
Responding to Morgan on Twitter, Noah said: “C’mon Piers you’re smarter than that.
“I wasn’t saying ‘The entire UK is racist’, I was responding to the racists who don’t want Rishi as PM because of his race.
“That’s why I said. ‘Some people’.”
In his monologue, titled “Unpacking the backlash against new UK PM Rishi Sunak”, he described seeing a “backlash” following Mr Sunak’s appointment.
“What I mean by that is this, you hear a lot of the people saying ‘Oh, they’re taking over, now the Indians are going to take over Great Britain and what’s next?’
“And I always find myself going ‘So what? What are you afraid of?’”
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) October 26, 2022
He added: “I think it’s because the quiet part a lot of people don’t realise they are saying is ‘We don’t want these people who were previously oppressed to get into power because then they may do to us what we did to them.’”
Underneath the video, which has more than 850,000 views, social media users also questioned Noah’s comments with some accusing him of “projecting” American views on race on to Britain.
Former chancellor and health secretary Mr Javid shared the clip and wrote: “Simply wrong. A narrative catered to his audience, at a cost of being completely detached from reality.
“Britain is the most successful multiracial democracy on earth and proud of this historic achievement.”
Asked whether Mr Sunak believes Britain is a racist country, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: “No he doesn’t.”
Mr Sunak was born in Hampshire, south-east England, to Indian migrant parents – a pharmacist mother and a GP father – and is married to Akshata Murty, the daughter of billionaire Indian IT giant Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy, with whom he has two young daughters Krishna and Anoushka.
When he was appointed as Prime Minister on Tuesday, the 42-year-old became the UK’s first Hindu PM, the first of Asian heritage and the youngest for more than 200 years.
Last month, South African TV presenter Noah announced he will be stepping down as host of The Daily Show after seven years at the helm.